Pravasi Bharatiya Divas delegates travelling to Delhi from Prayagraj after attending the Kumbh Mela will be served north Indian vegetarian food on-board special trains on January 24.
The government constituted a committee– including officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, the Uttar Pradesh government and the railways– to decide on the logistics around the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being held at Varanasi, represented in the Lok Sabha by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from January 21-23.
After the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas events, the Indian diaspora will travel to Prayagraj to attend the Kumbh Mela. On January 24, they will be ferried to Delhi in special trains to attend the Republic Day parade.
“We decided to keep it simple and give them a taste of the local food. So, we have kept fruits like Allahabadi amrud (guava), gajar ka halwa and other north Indian food in the menu,” said Ashwini Srivastava, the IRCTC Chief Regional Manager, Lucknow.
The Railways will provide two meals to the delegates – dinner on January 24 and breakfast the next day.
Sources said the option of serving continental or ready-to-eat meals was explored but the committee preferred serving North Indian vegetarian food.
The menu for dinner will include north Indian staples like paneer masala, mixed vegetables, daal, rice and paranthas, topped with choice of gajar ka halwa, chiki and gulab jamuns for dessert.
They will be served guavas from Prayagraj for breakfast along with a choice of Poha, Upma and another South Indian dishes.
The railways is preparing around 3,000 meals for the delegates, Mr Srivastava said.
Railways will also provide brand new fleece blankets and bedding especially procured for the delegates. The towels and napkins provided to them will be of better quality than those that are usually provided, the official said.