Following the regular complaints by passengers and to promote e-catering activities, the Ministry of Railways has issued a rate card for the catering services on trains. This move has been taken to address the grievances of the passengers after complaints of beverages and food being overpriced on trains flooded on social media.
A conference was held on 21 March with an aim to devise a road-map under the new catering policy.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is the world’s fourth-largest network. But it fails to impress the travellers by the quality of its services. The Railways provide meals to about 11 lakhs passengers daily, and many enraged passengers have posted complaints about the catering services on social media and other portals available for grievance redressal.
The Logical Indian has been trying to create awareness on the prices of foods provided by IRCTC. You can read one of the articles: My Story: This Is How Caterers Are Scamming Passengers Travelling In Indian Railway.
The rate card has been posted on Twitter account of the Railways where they have also urged the passengers to lodge a complaint if they are overcharged. The rate card will reduce the discrepancies between the rates being charged to the customers and the actual prices.
The tweet said:
Know the rate list of @IRCATERING in the case of any discrepancies must report to @RailMinIndia: We work for you 24×7 (sic),”
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) March 21, 2017
A standard non-veg meal will cost Rs 55, and a vegetarian food will cost Rs 50. Breakfast will be priced at Rs 30 and 35 respectively. The IRCTC will also ensure that the food served is freshly cooked, a maximum of two hours before being served.
IRCTC appoints some private vendors are going to provide food and catering services to the travellers and most of the time it is has been observed that the quality of the food is not up to the mark for which the passengers have been overcharged. As per the contract between IRCTC and the private vendors, the selected vendors have to provide services and food at the rates fixed by the IRCTC. The vendors are also mandated to show the menu card and provide hygienic food to the passengers.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had also reviewed all the catering contracts and instructed that the companies running operations using corrupt and unethical means should be blacklisted. Mr Prabhu had announced a new catering policy under which the food production and distribution were separated so that healthy and hygienic food is served on trains.
The Ministry is also trying to rope in well-established hoteliers to build kitchen bases at major stations. The Corporation IRCTC, incorporated in September 1999, is responsible for distribution o food. The Public Sector Undertaking of Railways was relieved from catering responsibility in 2010 by the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The Logical Indian welcomes this gesture by the Railway Ministry as this will encourage e-catering facilities which will enable passengers to book meals from a caterer who is on the panel of the IRCTC. Also, the distribution of information on social media will bring clarity for passengers regarding the price of meals offered by the IRCTC.
Also read: My Story: Voice Of A Railway Passenger