Hyderabad: In what seems to be an effect of the ‘beef’ controversy in Kerala, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had done away with Kerala’s local cuisine in the railways menu on January 20. Among the dishes that were rejected, Kerala’s favourite steamed rice cake ‘Puttu’ and ‘Pazhampori’ (banana fry) are on the list.
Several Malayalis have taken the rejection to heart and vented out their frustration on Twitter. Following the public outrage, IRCTC had later tweeted that “all the food items served earlier will be restored.”
Tweeting from their official account, IRCTC said, "In view of the demand from passengers and representations received, IRCTC has fully authorised it's local offices in zones and regions to bring more items as per the local taste and regional preferences within one week as snack meals.'
One of the officials associated with the IRCTC on the condition of anonymity told NewsMeter, “We had sent a list for the ‘ala-carte’ menu with the local and popular dishes, to be sold in mobile units in railway stations in the Southern and South-western railway zones. However, the board had not approved several of these dishes from the local cuisine. After the public came out with their complaints, the board has decided to re-instate the former food items as snacks.”
Many users on Twitter have alleged that this move from the central government has an agenda of replacing south-Indian dishes with north-Indian dishes. Several others have argued that the ‘beef’ controversy sparked by Kerala tourism has a lot to do with the IRCTC’s move to remove local items from the menu.
“Foods like Appam & Egg curry, Porotta, Dosa, Puttu, Pazhampori & Bhaji have been removed from Menu at railway stations in Kerala. Instead, Indian Railways has added Rajma chawal, Chhole bhature, Pav bhaji & Khichdi to the Menu,” said Advaid, a Twitter user.
The new IRCTC food menu, which came into effect from November 2019, removed a-la-carte meals that were usually sold on trains. In place of this, a-la-carte snack items like samosa, pakoda were introduced.
Following the public outcry, Hibi Eden, MP from Kerala had written to Piyush Goyal saying that, “Through the changes in the menu, Malayalees are discriminated in trains and railways by food, which is the right of every passenger.”