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New Delhi, April 12, 2020
Various organisations of the Indian Railways have distributed more than one million free hot cooked meals till yesterday during the COVID-19 lockdown at 313 places across the country.
Railways have been providing bulk cooked food with paper plates for lunch and food packets for dinner through IRCTC base kitchens, RPF resources and contribution of NGOs from March 28 onwards.
The food is being distributed among the poor, children, porters, migrant labourers, stranded persons and whoever else comes in search of food at and near the railway stations, and even at some distances away from the railway stations. While delivering the food to the needy persons, social distancing and hygiene are being observed, an official press release said.
IRCTC base kitchens in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hubli, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad, Bhusaval, Howrah, Patna, Gaya, Ranchi, Katihar, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar, Balasore, Vijaywada, Khurda, Katpadi, Tiruchirapalli, Dhanbad, Guwahati, Samastipur, Prayagraj, Itarsi, Vishakhapatnam, Chengalpatu, Pune, Hajipur, Raipur and Tatanagar spread over various zones such as Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern and South Central, were helping in these efforts.
Of these, more than 60% cooked meals have been provided by IRCTC, about 2.3 lakh meals have been provided by RPF from its own resources and nearly 2 lakh meals donated by NGOs working with the Railway organizations.
The distribution of food was being done with the help of RPF, GRP, commercial departments of Zones, State Governments and NGOs. GMs/DRMs of concerned Zone and division. They were also in continuous touch with IRCTC officials to enhance the outreach of these efforts of IRCTC even beyond the station vicinity to cater to the food requirements of needy people in areas surrounding the railway stations with the help of District Administrations and NGOs.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has played a major role in the food distribution to needy people prepared by IRCTC, NGOs and from its own kitchens. Starting with the distribution of food to 5,419 needy persons over 74 locations on March 28, the number has grown daily.
Approximately 6.5 lakh meals have been distributed by RPF over 313 locations till yesterday. The distribution of meals includes a good portion of what is made by IRCTC as well.
Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal had exhorted the Railway personnel to widen the outreach of their efforts in providing food and other assistance to the needy people.
Following this, IRCTC staff also deposited Rs 20 crore in PM CARES fund – Rs 1.5 crore from CSR fund of 2019-20, Rs 6.5 crore from CSR fund of 2020-21 and Rs 12 crore donation.