No cooking in Parliament, only packed food in Monsoon session

Sep 13, 2020
New Delhi: Indian Parliament’s much-publicised canteen will not prepare mouth-watering dishes inside the premises in the Monsoon Session beginning on Monday, with only packed breakfast, sweets, lunch, combo meals and other items to be served.

Except non-vegetarian dishes, other dishes and snacks to be served in the Parliament during the session will be outsourced by the Northern Railway through its Bengal Sweets vendor in the national capital.

Northern Railway has been providing catering services in the Parliament since 1968. Due to the stringent Covid-19 protocols, three of the current operational canteens — the Snacks Bar in the Central Hall, and those in the Parliament Annexe and the Library Building — in the Parliament complex will only make tea, coffee and kahva.

Breakfast, snacks or sweets will have a cheese roll for Rs 28, kachori khasta for Rs 10, samosa for Rs 10.90, a vegetable sandwich for Rs 19.75, a vegetable patty for Rs 25, paneer pakoda for Rs 15.90, vegetable kabab for Rs 75, dhokla (two pieces) for Rs 16.80, and a gulab jamun for Rs 15.40.

For non-vegetarians, there will be chicken biryani with raita for Rs 100 and dry packed lunch, comprising a chicken cutlet or fried fish, croissant or vegetable sandwich, boiled vegetables, tomato sachet and butter chiplet for Rs 150.

Both these will be prepared at the North Avenue canteen outside the Parliament.

North Indian and South Indian meals will be available for purchase in Parliament for lunch at Rs 105 and Rs 110, respectively.

A paneer dish, yellow dal tadka or pachmela, zeera rice or mattar pulao, pickle, raita or curd, two tava rotis, and a small sweet will be served in the North Indian lunch, while one idli, one vada, one mini dosa, one mini uthapam with sambhar and chutney will form its South Indian counterpart.

Vegetarian biryani for Rs 75, poha/upma with chutney for Rs 55 and idli/vada (2 pieces each) with chutney for Rs 50 will be served as ‘Combo Meals’ during the session which will continue till October 1.

The Snacks Bar canteen in Central Hall will serve these packed dishes to Parliamentarians and the MPs can have their foods in Room No 70 and 73.

For the first time, there is an arrangement for the lawmakers to maintain social distancing while having their lunch, with only two-three MPs sitting on one table.

This canteen will open before the beginning of the session and half-an-hour after the house adjourns for the day. It will open in two shifts — from 8.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

The two other canteens — one near the Parliament Annexe and the other in the Library Building — will serve dishes for media and the staff of the Parliament. The reception canteen has been closed since April 15.

Media will be served food in Room No 54 and Parliament staff in room number 74.

Officers or staff desirously of availing the food items may place the order and make payments to the Northern Railway one day in advance, a circular said, “supervisory officers are requested to bring the circular to the notice of all the officers or staff working under them”.

The restricted food menu would be available only through packed meals and with disposable containers, paper plates. Water, tea and coffee would also be served in paper cups.

For the past five months, the canteen has only been serving tea and biscuits and its lunch service has been stopped. The Northern Railway-run canteens usually has a sumptuous menu of 48 items at subsidised prices.

The arrangements were made available by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to ensure safety of those visiting Parliament during the session whether they are members of Parliament, staff or even media who will be present in a very limited number.

Both Houses would work for a limited duration.

The Lok Sabha would sit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday — day one of the session — while the Rajya Sabha will function from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On all other days, the Rajya Sabha would function from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Lok Sabha would function from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., including on Saturdays and Sundays.IANS