IRCTC gears up to supply more than one lakh meals daily

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Aiming to provide over one lakhmeals daily, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is setting up large-base kitchens at metropolises to cater to PSUs, BPOs and corporate houses across the country.

"We are setting up base kitchens with state-of-the-art equipment at metropolises. While a huge modern kitchen is already operational at Noida, four more such facilities are going to be functional at Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore shortly," said an IRCTC official.

There is a growing clientele of PSUs, MNCs, and various educational institutes, where there is a huge demand of fresh hygienic and healthy food.

"We have undertaken a survey to assess the demand for packed meals in offices and accordingly have decided to go ahead with the plan. Our endeavour is to provide the meals at reasonable prices," he said.

"Our target is to prepare about 1.25 lakh daily meals, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian," the official added, adding each kitchen will be equipped to prepare 25,000 packed hot meals per day.

The sites for base kitchen in Chennai and Kolkata are already being acquired while talks are in advance stages to finalise them in Mumbai and Bangalore.

It is estimated to cost about Rs 5.5 crore to set up a modern kitchen equipped with latest technology to prepare 25,000 meals a day. A meal will cost between Rs 50 and Rs 75.

The proposed IRCTC kitchens are to be fully automated with minimum human touch and with latest equipment.

"There will be a proper training for the staff to manage the kitchen. Besides vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals, there will be also Chinese and continental dishes to be prepared depending on the clientele," the official said.

In order to ensure quality and hygienic standard, the central kitchen will have in-house laboratory for testing of raw materials and prepared food. There will also be vegetable washing and sanitising machines installed next to the cooking area.

IRCTC kitchen will have automatic chapati making machine to churn out about 1,000 per hour, vegetable cutting machine with capacity to cut 400 kg of vegetables per hour.

Besides, there will be RO water treatment plant for all cooking, temperature controlled storage and solar energy usage for hot water supply at these base kitchens.

The state-of-the-art kitchens will have all relevant statutory compliances like medical tests for the food-handlers and microbiological tests of food samples besides ensuring good quality raw materials and ingredients.

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