Sunday, December 5, 2010

Railways catering policy hangs fire

PATNA: The railways has now adopted a new catering policy to provide better catering service to passengers on running trains.

According to a Railway Board official, though the railways had introduced the new policy from July 21, 2010, in a few zones of railways, the policy is yet to be implemented in other zones of the railways. The railways is serious about improving catering services on running trains in the larger interest of the passengers, he said.

The policy is yet to be implemented fully in all five divisions of East Central Railway (ECR) as the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is yet to hand over the charge of catering services to these divisions. The Board official told TOI that the railways has set up a monitoring mechanism at divisional and zonal level to keep a tab on the quality of meals being served to the passengers. A team of railway officials have been asked to carry on food inspection on running trains in all mail and express trains. The railways has formed a cell at the Board level through which a strict monitoring is to be maintained in each division and zone, he said.

According to sources, the railways has decided to set up base kitchens at all important stations across the country to cook fresh and hygiene meals for passengers on running trains. Efforts are on to provide meals to passengers on running trains at the most reasonable and affordable price. Besides, the railways has given priority to quality, hygiene and economy of meals, sources said.

Stung by frequent complaints about poor quality of food, the railways has decided to strip the IRCTC of its responsibility to provide catering services on running trains across the country.

According to an ECR official, the IRCTC has been providing catering services in about 22 mail and express trains under the ECR. Out of this, the IRCTC has handed over the charge of catering services of only two trains to the railways. Thus, the catering services on running trains are still being served by IRCTC or its licensed agencies in ECR, he said, adding IRCTC has, however, handed over stalls of different stations to the railways.

Meanwhile, several passengers travelling by the Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express recently complained about poor quality of food served to them by the IRCTC. They urged railway officials concerned to ensure supply of better quality of food at least in a premier train like Rajdhani Express.


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