NEW DELHI: North Indian vegetarian meals will be served to Pravasi Bharatiya Divas delegates travelling to Delhi from Allahabad on board special trains on January 24 after attending the Kumbh Mela in the Uttar Pradesh city.
A high-level committee consisting of officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, the Uttar Pradesh government and the railways made this decision.
The government has constituted the committee to decide on the logistics around the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being held at Varanasi, represented in the Lok Sabha by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from January 21-23.
After the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas events, the Indian diaspora will travel to Allahabad by road to attend the Kumbh Mela and on January 24.
They will be ferried to Delhi in special trains to attend the Republic Day parade.
"We are offering north Indian vegetarian foods to the delegates. We decided to keep it simple and give them a taste of the local food. So, we have kept fruits like Allahabadi amrud (guava), gajar ka halwa and other north Indian food in the menu," said Ashwini Srivastava, the IRCTC Chief Regional Manager, Lucknow.
The Railways will provide two meals to the delegates - dinner on January 24 and breakfast the next day.
Sources privy to the plans said the option of serving continental or ready-to-eat meals was explored but the committee preferred giving India's global citizens a taste of local dishes.
The menu for dinner will include north Indian staples like paneer masala, mixed vegetables, daal, rice and paranthas, topped with choice of gajar ka halwa, chiki and gulab jamuns for dessert.
They will be served Allahabadi amruds (guava's from Allahabad) for breakfast along with a choice of Poha, Upama -- and another South Indian dish.
They will also get bread, butter and eggs for breakfast on demand once they have left Allahabad.
However, delegates who want eggs with their breads have to order them by dinner time on January 24.
The railways is preparing around 3,000 meals for the delegates which will be kept warm on insulated trays on board, Srivastava said.
They will be served in pre-sealed cardboard packages with holding space for each item.
As part of the special treatment planned by the railways, linen provided to the guests will be brand new -- fleece blankets and beddings which have been procured especially for the delegates by the Allahabad division of railways, along with the towels and napkins which will be of better quality than those provided usually. Sanitisers will be kept in abundance in the coaches.