IRCTC to take over catering services in all trains by year-end due to Effect of CAG Report on Railway Catering
Catering services in all trains with pantry cars will be handed over to IRCTC by the year-end in order to improve on board food quality, according to Railways.
An audit report compiled by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has revealed major lapses in the catering services offered by the Indian Railways to passengers. The report, which was tabled in Parliament on Friday, was compiled after an inspection of 74 railway stations and 80 trains across India.
The report observed “a number of unauthorised vendors on platforms and trains. During 2013-14 to 2015-16, 2,39,096 (2.39 lakh) cases were prosecuted by Railway Protection Force and fine imposed in eight Zonal Railways.”
Besides passengers in seven Rajdhani and six Shatabdi trains will have an option for e-catering facility.
IRCTC will be given responsibility of managing catering services in all trains with pantry cars be December end, Railway Board Member (Traffic) Mohd Jamshed said here today.
Till now, the zonal railways were managing catering services in majority trains as per the catering policy 2010.
There are about 350 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto which are equipped with pantry cars.
With a view to improve catering services at rail premises, Railways will also conduct third party audit at pantry cars, base kitchens and food stalls to ensure best practice.
"We have hired two reputed companies to do the third party audits at food stalls and pantry cars," Jamshed said.
Railways has also undertaken a three-week drive to inspect food quality and hygienic condition at base kitchens.
The Railways formulated catering policy in 2005 and according to the policy, IRCTC, the tourism and catering wing of the Railways, was given catering responsibility for all trains.
The CAG also observed that a number of “unfair practices” were noticed during the audit. “Unfair practices were being followed in execution of catering services at stations and trains. Bills were not given for the food items served in mobile units in trains. Printed menu cards with tariff were not available with waiters and Catering Managers in trains. Food stuff served was less than the prescribed scheduled quantity, unapproved packaged drinking water was sold, Propriety Article Depot (PAD) items were sold at the railway stations at maximum retail price (MRP).”