Railways allow IRCTC to open catering or vending units at railway stations

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The Ministry of Railways has decided to open all catering stalls at railway stations. These were shut in view of the lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zonal Railways and IRCTC are advised to take necessary action for the opening of all Static catering and vending units (MPS, bookstalls, misc./chemist stalls, etc) at Railway stations with immediate effect, the ministry said in a tweet today. In the case of Food Plaza and refreshment rooms, cooked items may be served as take-away only with no sit-down eating arrangements in place. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the railways announced that it would run 200 special passenger trains from June 1. These trains will have non-air conditioned second class sleeper coaches and will run daily. They will be plied in addition to the Shramik Special and the air-conditioned special trains which are currently being operated on the Rajdhani routes connecting 15 major cities to Delhi. All categories of passengers will be allowed to book tickets which will be available online.

The Indian Railways has run more than 1,600 ‘Shramik Special’ trains since May 1 and ferried over 21.5 lakh migrants back home. More than 900 trains were bound to Uttar Pradesh while Bihar permitted 428 and Madhya Pradesh over 100. 

The Railways on Tuesday said it no longer needed the consent of the destination states to operate such trains. The central government has issued a standard operating procedure that said that for running such trains, permission will be given by the Ministry of Railways in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

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