Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha on the quality and serving style of food in trains, the minister said "base kitchens" were being set up to ensure good quality food to travellers.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said efforts were on to ensure good quality food, including “ethnic food”, to railway passengers. Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha on the quality and serving style of food in trains, the minister said “base kitchens” were being set up to ensure good quality food to travellers.
“Food will be cooked in these base kitchens and professional agencies, with good experience in hospitality, will be hired to distribute the food,” he said. He said since India had lots of diversity in food, people should also be served ethnic food in trains.
Speaking about food related issues the passengers may have, Prabhu said that a hotline had been established for passengers to lodge complaints, if any, regarding food and the way it is served.
Indian Railways unveils new catering policy to deal with flood of food complaints
The Railways today unveiled a new catering policy separating its cooking and onboard food distribution sections. Flooded with complaints on the food quality, the railways replaced the existing policy after seven years giving back onboard catering responsibility to the IRCTC for majority of trains, including all the new ones.
Announcing the new policy, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, “It has been finalised after consultation with all stakeholders as we want to provide the best catering services and under hygienic condition.” The existing policy, which had relieved IRCTC from onboard catering responsibility, was effected in 2010 by the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.
While the food will be prepared at state-of-the-art base kitchens, it would be distributed through service-providers from the hospitality industry, according to the policy which aims to attract reputed food-chain players from the market.
“In this new catering policy, food production and food distribution will be delinked. This will be a marriage between the best of both worlds. Food can be cooked anywhere like the state-of-the-art kitchens of IRCTC in a hygienic manner using mechanised system. Food can be distributed using professionals from the hospitality industry.
“IRCTC would begin to manage catering service in a phased manner. IRCTC would unbundle catering services,” Prabhu had announced in the 2016-17 Rail Budget. Railway catering policy-2017 also empowers the IRCTC to fix menu and tariff in consultation with Railway Board.