“On December 5, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) received a phone call from the Union external affairs ministry, routed through the railway ministry,” recalls Jyoti Mukul for India’s Business Standard.
“It was not a usual communication but a direction to pull out something as basic as drinking water to meet a diplomatic call.
A day earlier, the Maldivian capital of Male had experienced a crisis. Its only desalination plant, which supplies drinking water to citizens after treating sea water, had caught fire. It, indeed, was a disaster for the island nation; India offered help and so did China and Sri Lanka.
Since the sea route would take at least four days, the quickest relief was to air-lift drinking water from India and take it to Male.
The need to rope in IRCTC, Indian Railways’ government-owned catering and tourism company, was felt.”