Indian Railway Catering and Tourism, the catering subsidiary of Indian Railways, has restored traditional Kerala dishes that were removed from the menus of trains such as the Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto, and eateries at stations in the state in November, Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.
The railways had replaced popular snacks such as pazham pori, or banana fritters, and illayada, which is made with coconut and jaggery, with North Indian snacks such as samosa and kachori, drawing the ire of train passengers, and people on social media. Other dishes that were removed from the menu were egg curry, porotta, dosa, puttu and kadala curry, bhaji, kozhukatta, unniappam, neyyappam and sukhiyan.
After a Twitter user labelled the menu changes as “cultural fascism”, IRCTC replied that “all the food items served earlier will be restored” and reintroduced within a week.
“While Railways were considering to include local taste and preferences for items to be sold in railway units as snack meals, Hon’ble MP has also suggested to restore the items served earlier,” it said in a statement issued on Tuesday, according to The Telegraph. “IRCTC has now empowered zonal heads to include food items served earlier as snack meals for static and post paid mobile units in addition to the existing items, keeping in view the local delicacies and regional preferences.”
The parliamentarian referred to in the statement is Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden, who had written a strongly worded letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and the managing director of the catering organisation.
Eden, who claimed that the changes discriminated against Malayalis, welcomed the IRCTC’s U-turn on Wednesday. “I welcome IRCTC decision to withdraw earlier decision to exclude Kerala delicacies from railway menu,” he tweeted. “It was the sentiments of Kerala I echoed to Chairman Mr MP Mall. IRCTC officials visited me today and handed over the reinstated menu. We got fish curry meals as a bonus!”