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Measures to Improve Catering Services in Indian Railways

Posted : 12 August 2017 04:49:11 | By TWO Bureau | New Delhi

Measures to Improve Catering Services in Indian Railways

Indian Railways is taking several measures to improve catering services on over its network. It is emphasised that improvement of catering being an on-going process. A new Catering Policy has been notified on 27 February, 2017 wherein with the objective to provide quality food to rail passengers, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), a PSU of Ministry of RailwaysRail has been mandated to unbundle catering services on trains by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution. IRCTC shall set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones. These kitchens will be owned, operated and managed by IRCTC. IRCTC shall retain the ownership and shall be fully accountable for all the issues pertaining to setting up and operation of the Base Kitchens and quality of food. All four Base Kitchens under departmental operation of Zonal Railways (Nagpur, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Mumbai Central (BCT) and Balharshah) and all kitchen units i.e. Refreshment Rooms at A1 and A category stations, Jan Ahaar, Cell Kitchens shall be handed over to IRCTC on ‘as is where is basis’. In the first phase, unbundling of catering services is under implementation on Delhi – Mumbai Sector. Base kitchens & Jan Ahaars at CSMT and BCT have been taken over by IRCTC from Zonal Railways.


· Further steps being taken to ensure that good quality and hygienic food is served to the passengers are:-

(i) Introduction of station based E-Catering for widening the range of options available to passengers for ordering food of their choice. (ii) Introduction of precooked food (‘ready to eat’ meals) in the range of options available to passengers. (iii) Operation of centralized Catering Service Monitoring Cell (CSMC) (toll free number 1800-111-321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to the catering activities and real time assistance to travelling public. (iv) Imposition of penalties in case of deficiencies detected in services. (v) Operation of all India Helpline (No.138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/suggestions regarding food and catering services (vi) A Twitter handle @ IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.


· To effectively check and control unfair practices of overcharging, issues of quality as well quantity, the following measures are planned :


o In prepaid trains, optional catering is being introduced as a pilot project so that passenger has the option to ‘not eat’ if he does not want the food supplied onboard.


o A policy of zero tolerance towards bad quality of food served to passengers and overcharging is being followed and in the last six months, 16 catering contracts have been terminated for catering or other contractual deficiencies during the calendar year 2017. 16 contractors have been blacklisted for breach of contract term in the last one year.


o Third Party Audit of mobile units and base kitchen is to be undertaken by zonal railway periodically, by hiring an independent agency in accordance with Catering Policy 2017.


o As announced in the Rail Budget 2016-17, Tejas Train has been introduced on 22/05/2017. Management of on-board catering services on Tejas Express is done by IRCTC. Service-wise Catering services on Tejas Express are optional and for the passengers who do not opt for catering services at the time of booking, catering charges will not be included in the ticket fare. However, if the passenger asks for catering services at a later stage, an extra amount of ? 50/- per service is levied, in addition to the cost of catering charges.


o Instructions have been issued stipulating that Humsafar trains may have the facility of Automatic Vending Machines (AVMs) for dispensation of beverages including Tea/Coffee/soup etc. On two such Humsafar Trains , such AVM’s have already been installed and are fully functional.

Tags : Measures, Improve Catering Services, Indian Railways, TravelWorldOnline

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