KOLKATA: Baby food will be available at food stalls at several stations under South Eastern Railway (SER) from Wednesday as part of Indian Railway’s Janani Sewa scheme. The stalls will not only sell warm milk but also supply warm water to prepare cereals for children.
This scheme was announced by railway minister Suresh Prabhu in this year’s railway budget. An SOS message tweeted by a woman to Prabhu, requesting food for her toddler on a late-running train prompted the minister to launch this scheme.
Baby food sold for passengers convenience
“We launched the initiative at the Santragachi and Shalimar stations in West Bengal, Tatanagar, Ranchi and Hatia stations in Jharkhand and Rourkela and Jharsuguda stations in Odisha. There are also plans to launch the scheme at other stations like Adra and Purulia. Henceforth, passengers who are unable to carry baby food need not worry as they can purchase branded varieties at the food stalls. Sometimes, warm water and milk can also be a problem, particularly for those traveling long distances. Their problems will also be solved,” said Sanjoy Ghosh, CPRO, SER.
There is only one hitch in the scheme. Passengers would have to purchase large packs even if they don’t require the entire quantity during the journey. A senior railway official said, “Any attempt to sell baby food loose would lead to contamination. However, if the scheme becomes popular, baby food brands may be approached to introduce packets containing smaller quantities. There are also plans to introduce the scheme on trains but it will happen only after studying it’s popularity.”
Janani sewa scheme
“After receiving the tweet, the railway minister asked senior officers to work out a policy to provide food for children. It was then realised that there is adequate infrastructure at stations to sell baby food and other items. There will be price lists for these items at food stalls and passengers can choose,” the official added.
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