NEW DELHI : Passengers onboard Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains will have to pay more fare ranging from three to nine per cent if they opt for meals.

The revised catering tariff shall be effective from March 29 next year.

According to a new order, in first class AC and executive class of these trains, tea will cost 35 ( 15 at present), breakfast 140 (up from 90) and lunch and dinner 245 (from 140 currently).

For travellers in second class AC, third class AC and chair car, morning tea will now be priced at 20 (up from 10), breakfast at 105 (from 70), lunch and dinner at 185 (from 120), and evening tea at 90 (from 45).

In sleeper class of Duronto trains, morning tea prices have been revised to 15 (from 10), breakfast to 65 (from 40), lunch and dinner to 120 (from 75) and evening tea to 50 (from 20).

The tariff of food onboard Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains was last revised in 2013.

"To give good quality food, catering charges needed to be increased," said Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi when asked about the hike in charges.

The order stated that it has also been decided that snacks of regional flavour will be introduced. The 'snack meal' shall be of 350 grams portion and shall be made available at 50, inclusive of GST.

"IRCTC shall be accountable for providing the newly introduced menu options in a way that the quantity and quality are commensurate with the tariff and no undue benefit is passed on to the service provider," the order read.

It said a review of menu and tariff of pre-paid Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains and standard meals or food items that are provided to passengers of mail or express trains on payment basis, has been done taking into consideration the requests received from IRCTC and the recommendations of the menu and tariff committee set up by the board.

For mail and express trains, the price of tea and standard meals will range from 40 to 130. The tariff of standard meals onboard mail and express trains was last revised in 2012.

Railways said the move to hike prices of meals was to give passengers more variety and improve hygiene and quality of food.

A committee was nominated by the Railway Board to examine and recommend the revision in menu and tariff of these services.

"The committee scientifically examined all aspects of costing keeping in mind the objective to provide good quality and hygienic food to the travelling passengers on Indian Railways

"The impact on the total ticket fares of the pre-paid trains will be an increase in the range of 3 per cent to 9 per cent for passengers who opt for meals. The revised catering tariff shall be effective from March 29, 2020 ," a statement from the ministry said.

The rate of Janta Meal has been kept unchanged at 20.

To prevent overcharging in the name of a-la-carte meals, it has now been decided that no such meals shall be permitted for sale on mail and express trains. However a a-la-carte snacks with items like samosa, pakoda and others will be permitted for sale, it said.

It has also been decided that biryani will be offered as a standard meal variety in view of the popularity of the dish. IRCTC shall make available three types of biryani -- veg, egg and chicken at a price 80, 90 and 110 respectively.