Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal asked Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to come up with a road-map in order to attach a fully air-conditioned pantry car in all trains with Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) rakes.
Soon, you may travel on a train with air-conditioned pantry and induction cooking system! Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal asked the e-ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to come up with a road-map in order to attach a fully air-conditioned pantry car in all trains with Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) rakes. According to a TOI report, these AC pantry cars will have an induction cooking system and will also ensure hygiene in food preparation. Currently, Rajdhani Express trains in Mumbai have the facility of induction cooking with AC pantry.
Almost 400 pantry cars are attached to long-distance trains across the entire railway network. During a survey conducted by Indian Railways in the year 2015, up to 30 per cent of pantry cars were found to be in a deplorable condition. In these pantry cars, meals are prepared using LPG cylinders. Also, as there have been cases of fire in pantry cars hence raising concerns about safety as well.
In a bid to prevent unauthorised vending, the Railway Board is also planning IRCTC-authorised food stalls at railway stations to provide vending facilities on trains. Under the new policy, the zonal railways handed over the major catering units to IRCTC on an ‘as is where is’ basis. So, all aspects, including pricing and tendering, inspection and quality control of food items will be under IRCTC, the report stated.
Additionally, Piyush Goyal has instructed IRCTC to provide a live feed of all its base kitchens from where food is sourced for supply on trains. Additionally, the IRCTC has been asked to make it compulsory for contractors to have point of sales machines and also to issue electronically-generated receipts in order to curb complaints of overcharging.
An IRCTC official has been quoted in the report saying that, IRCTC has already started live screening from our base kitchens at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Mumbai Central. But, as cables are getting damaged due to road and metro work, there have been issues with live feeds, the official added. The live feed of base kitchens will make sure that the staff working at these facilities do not break the hygiene rules.