Railways distributed food to over 8.5 lakh people in 12 days
New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the Indian railways claimed to have distributed food to more than 8.5 lakh people in 12 days, who are stranded at different locations across the country.
The railway ministry said that Indian railways started providing cooked meals to needy people after the lockdown due to Covid-19 and it continues to provide bulk cooked food with paper plates for lunch and food packets for dinner through IRCTC base kitchens, Railway Protection Force (RPF) resources and the contribution of NGOs, in keeping with its social service commitment.
The ministry said the food is being distributed to the poor, destitutes, beggars, children, coolies, migrant labourers, stranded persons and whoever else comes in search of food at and near the railway stations, and even at some distance from the stations vicinity.
“This is in keeping with the suggestion of Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, who had said that railways should widen the outreach of their efforts and go beyond the proximities of railway stations to deeper areas in consultation with district authorities and NGOs in providing food and other assistance to the needy people,”it said.
The railway ministry said that Indian railways has so far distributed over 8.5 lakh meals to the poor and the needy since March 28 with the active cooperation of IRCTC base kitchens in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hubli, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad, Bhusaval, Howrah, Patna, Gaya, Ranchi, Katihar, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar, Balasore, Vijaywada, Khurda, Katpadi, Tiruchirapalli, Dhanbad, Guwahati, Samastipur, Prayagraj, Itarsi, Visakhapatnam, Chengalpatu, Pune, Hajipur, Raipur and Tatanagar spread over various zones such as Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern and South Central.
It said that over 6 lakh cooked meals have been provided by the IRCTC and about 2 lakh meals have been provided by the RPF from its own resources.
Nearly 1.5 lakh meals have been donated by NGOs working with the railway organizations, it said.
The RPF has played a major role in the food distribution to needy people prepared by IRCTC, NGOs and from its own kitchens.
Starting with distribution of food to 5419 needy persons over 74 locations on March 28, the number has grown daily.
Approximately, 6 lakh needy persons have been provided food by the RPF over 313 locations till April 8.
Meal distribution by Indian railways is in progress today also to close to 1 lakh persons.
Besides food distribution, IRCTC has also deposited Rs 20 crore in the 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 received as donations.