Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday that the Railways is considering providing separate kitchen facilities for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food for its passengers. Speaking at an interactive session on video-sharing portal YouTube after presenting his maiden railways budget, Prabhu also hinted that future rail budgets in his tenure could completely do away with the practice of announcing new trains.
When answering a question, on the difficulties faced by passengers who are vegetarian, put on social networking site Twitter, Prabhu said “I am a vegetarian myself, and I understand vegetarians may face problems since the food they eat on trains and other railways facilities is cooked in the same kitchens as non-vegetarian food.”.
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“While it would be good if everyone takes up vegetarianism, we will try to provide vegetarian and non-vegetarian food prepared in separate kitchens,” Prabhu said.
On the webcast, touted to be the first of its kind by a Railways Minister, Prabhu was taking questions from Twitter under the trend #AskMR. As an aside, the webcast started 45 minutes after its scheduled time, prompting numerous jokes on Twitter about Prabhu’s train running late.
While answering a question about why there were no announcements about new trains, Prabhu said: We will announce new trains soon. But in any Rail Budget, we should be talking about finances, plans, and future strategies of the Railways as a whole. I have never been able to understand the link between the Rail Budget and announcing new trains.”
Apart from Twitter, he also took a couple of questions through video-link from author Chetan Bhagat, including one on future plans for bullet trains in India. “The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train feasibility study will be completed within a year’s time. We are also preparing feasibility studies for high-speed rail networks in other cities.”
Prabhu said that the railways would push big on tapping solar energy for its stations and other facilities and that it could save by reducing the cost of energy over a period of time. The other topics he spoke about were working with the Finance Ministry to raise necessary resources fiscal, the Railways’ thrust on cleanliness, and working with state governments’ to improve connectivity.