The Food Factory of the Indian Railways

New Delhi, Jul 3: Massive chappati makers that roll out uniform-shaped chapatis in less than 80 seconds, steam kettles, which cook up tonnes of well made rice and a cutting machine that chops up about 400 kilograms of vegetables in an hour-- the Indian Railway's mammoth kitchen is a state-of-the art wonder.

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC), central kitchen in Noida, Uttar Pradesh works round the clock to provide "hygienic, competitively priced and affordable meals" not only to rail passengers but to corporate clients too.

Food Factory of the Indian Railways

The automated four-storeyed 'Food Factory', set up in February 2012 churns out over 10,000 meals per day to be served up on some Rajdhani, Duranto and August Kranti trains.

"The kitchen is fully automated with latest equipments from the best of the manufacturers in India and abroad," says Sudheer Warrier, AGM IRCTC.

Raw materials are stocked in a store room on the ground floor, with pulses, rice, spices, vermicelli, and other "dry" items segregated neatly with indicating labels. "While all perishable items come in regularly every morning, the dry items are stocked for about three days," says Warrier.

All perishable food items like vegetables and fruits are washed and sanitised before being moved to be chopped up on the upper floor. "We use chlorine tablets to sanitise vegetables," Warrier says.

Vegetables are sourced from Mother Dairy and the non-perishable food items come from the Metro Cash and Carry outlet near Karkardooma Court. The kitchen has just installed an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) to segregate different forms of waste into reusable air and water.

"We plan to use this reusable waters in toilets and cleaning floors," says Warrier. The process of chopping bulk amounts of vegetables in a couple of minutes makes for a fascinating sight. "Our vegetable cutting machine comes from the Swedish company Hallde. It can chop about 400 kilograms of vegetables in a matter of one hour's time," says Warrier. "We are targeting 25,000 meals by the end of this year," he adds.

Potato peelers and batter makers, particularly for South Indian dishes like idli and vada are also used in the same section. Equipment is sourced from across the world like Hallde from Sweden, Rosinox from France, Hackmann from Finland and Sottriva from Italy besides the Ahmedabad-based Servotech.


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