To provide quality food to passengers in trains, railways has decided to hand over catering services to railway PSU IRCTC which will be setting up new mechanised kitchens and fixed rates for meals in trains.
According to the new policy, the conventional catering practice in which awarded licensee was responsible for procuring, cooking, servicing and delivery of foods to travelling passengers in the mail and express trains has been taken off. Instead, IRCTC will be held responsible for these functions. And, passengers’ grievances will be immediately addressed to by officials as the policy has mandated travelling of a mid-level IRCTC officer of IRCTC.
“Now, the officials will be penalised for delivering substandard meals,” a railway official said. This plan will end the dominance of RK Associates which had a monopoly on Railways’ catering business for decades as all existing contracts would be automatically terminated on completion of tenure of the agreement in a phased manner.
The new policy has more to offer. The passengers need to pay a nominal amount of Rs 7 for a cup of tea/coffee, Rs 50 for a vegetarian meal and Rs 55 for non-vegetarian. “To enhance food quality, IRCTC has set up new kitchens along with the renovation of existing ones. It will be held responsible for catering services through mobile catering units, base kitchens, cell kitchens, refreshment rooms at A1 & A category of stations, food plazas, food courts, train side vending, jan ahaars,” mentions the new policy.
Also, other units like refreshment rooms at B and below the category of stations, AVMs, milk stalls, trolleys is to be managed by zonal railways. “IRCTC may empanel self-help groups for catering services but it cannot outsource or issue licenses for the provision of such services,” added the new policy list.
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