Railways’ revised food price becomes pretty costly affair in Kerala

The railway also has a standard menu.
For representational purpose (Photo | Express Illustration)
For representational purpose (Photo | Express Illustration)

KOCHI: The revision of rates of the dishes served on the ala-carte menu of the Southern Railway got a mixed response. Even though caterers hailed the revision, which has come 12 years too late, the passengers found the hike in prices discomforting.

Now, one banana fry will cost Rs 20, and a set of onion vada or bajji (two numbers), Rs 25. The price of fish curry meals has gone up from Rs 56 to Rs 95.

“One should take note of the fact that the revision in prices is happening after 12 years. In this time, the prices of the ingredients needed to prepare the dishes, including that of fuel, has multiplied many times,” said a caterer.

 “It should also be understood that the decision has come very late when compared to price changes in other railway zones, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai,” he added.

“These menus are decided by the respective zones, and the prices vary from zone to zone. The railway also has a standard menu. The price and dishes on this menu are decided by the Railway Board based in Delhi,” said S V Sreedhar, the Railway Caterers Association president.

“The situation has been very bad for the caterers who ran the station stalls. The high rent and low revenue broke our backs. I recently closed my stall. Though people do participate in the tender process for the stalls and win it, many stop at that after having second thoughts,” he added.

Another caterer said, “Have you ever had a fish curry meal anywhere for Rs 95? Do you know the price of the ingredients? If you go out and have a fish curry meal in any hotel, you must pay at least Rs 110. They charge separately for the fish curry, and the price ranges anywhere from Rs 50 to Rs 200 based on the fish.” 

He also pointed out that the South Western Railway charges Rs 155 for a fish curry meal. “Now consider the difference. How’s that fair?” he said.

As to the allegation that vegetarian meals are not provided at the station stalls, Sreedhar said, “Vegetarian meals are indeed provided at every stall at every station. They are priced at Rs 70. The price was hiked (from Rs 30) in January 2020.”

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