Free Press Journal

IRCTC appoints women caterers from Sawantwadi to whip up some mouth watering local dishes


IRCTC wants you to get a taste of home even before you get to your destination. Hence it has teamed up with 30 women members of the Loksanchalit Sadhan Kendra, which is federation of 19 women’s self-help groups formed by the Mahila Arthik Vikas Mahamandal (MAVIM) in Konkan’s Sawantwadi. These women cook the region’s local Malvani cuisine for railway passengers along the Southern based routes. The women are tirelessly working for over three months and are financially backed by NABARD- which allotted a sum of Rs 6, 23,000 for the project (Including training, cost for setting up of a centralised kitchen close to the Sawantwadi Railway Station).

Their effort has finally come to completion with the first online order being placed. The initiative has propelled them from being simple home chefs to entrepreneurs. The women are currently learning the rules of modern-day catering as their transaction is done through the digital medium.

The thing which makes their business unique is that these women’s serves over one lakh passengers of long-distance trains halting at Sawantwadi station and the review given by the customers have been excellent.

In a first ever initiative by the Indian Railways, aluwadis, puran poli, modaks, chicken sukka and solkadhi are prepared by the experienced home chefs from the Konkan region and will be served to those who want to try the local cuisine.

How it works

Commuters travelling from a South-bond train on the Konkan line can simply log on to the IRCTC website and select the dishes- anything local speciality, Surmai thali to Chicken suka and Bhakri to puran poli, made with desi ghee.

IRCTC then calls the staff coordinators at the centralised e-kitchen two hours before the train arrives at the station, who make sure that their orders are properly delivered. The minimum requisite for an order in Rs 60. Besides serving on the Railways, these women are also allowed to take local events which will be their alternate source of income.

The biggest challenge is to take the project from a local scale to a mega level. For this the authorities have to set up canteens in government offices in the region, which can sell their local food, employ them at the railway pantries and brand their products in a bigger way.