52-year old practice to come to an end! Indian Railways to hand over Parliament canteen to ITDC next month

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October 23, 2020 11:34 AM

The Secretariat of Lok Sabha has written to the zonal railway, which has been serving food in the canteen since the year 1968, asking to pack up and move on from the Parliament premises.

On November 15, the Northern Railway zone will hand over the responsibility of the Parliament canteen to ITDC.

Indian Railways to end 52-year old practice of serving food to Parliamentarians! On November 15, the Northern Railway zone of Indian Railways will hand over the responsibility of the Parliament canteen to the government’s tourism arm, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC). The Secretariat of Lok Sabha has written to the zonal railway, which has been serving food in the canteen since the year 1968, asking to pack up and move on from the Parliament premises. The ITDC runs the luxury five-star Ashok Group of hotels, according to a PTI report. The letter said, the competent authority has desired ITDC to take over the functions of the catering units in Parliament House Estate by November 15.

The letter further stated that the zonal railway may, accordingly, hand over the electronic gadgets like, computers printer, etc., provided to ITDC by the Lok Sabha Secretariat and equipment gadgets, furniture items, etc., to CPWD for being handed over by them to ITDC. Last year, the process to find a new vendor was started and this year, in the month of July, Speaker of Lok Sabha Om Birla met Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel as well as ITDC officials to discuss the issue. According to ITDC officials, they have been instructed to keep a special focus on the food quality, which should suit both, dignitaries and common people.

Currently, around 5,000 people are served by the canteen during every session. The canteen menu has 48 food items in total for lunch and evening snacks. While a joint committee on food management, in the 17th Lok Sabha, generally decide the matters related to catering arrangements in the Parliament House Complex, however, the food committee has not been constituted. According to the report, Speaker Birla took the final decision, by taking a personal interest in making sure that food of better quality is served in the Parliament canteen as well as to end subsidies. It is expected that an end to subsidies will lead to annual savings of around Rs 17 crore to the Parliament, the report added.

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