Base kitchens of IRCTC: If you are one of those who worries about train food, you would be glad to know that the e-ticketing and catering arm of Indian Railways, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is taking multiple steps to improve the quality of meals that are being served to railway passengers on trains and at stations. Recently, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain stated that so far, IRCTC has opened as many as 8 new base kitchens at various railway stations across the country, namely at Allahabad railway station in Gujarat, Balasore railway station in Odisha, Kharagpur, Sealdah and Howrah railway stations in West Bengal, Noida railway station in Uttar Pradesh and at Rajendra Nagar railway station in Patna, Bihar. A base kitchen is also set to come up at New Delhi railway station, however, presently, it is under renovation. Setting up base kitchens will ensure that IRCTC has control over the quality of food that is served on the Indian Railways network.
In addition to this, IRCTC has also upgraded 13 kitchen units in the year 2017-2018 from where meals are being supplied in trains. For setting up new kitchen units and renovation of existing kitchen production units, a budget target of capital expenditure Rs 15 crore has been set by IRCTC for the year 2018-2019. IRCTC is also planning to set up greenfield base kitchens at several locations across the country, namely at Kanpur railway station in Uttar Pradesh, Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi, Howrah railway station in West Bengal, Rajendra Nagar railway station in Patna, Secundrabad railway station in Telangana, Vijayawada railway station in Andhra Pradesh, Chennai’s Egmore railway station in Tamil Nadu, Ahmadabad railway station in Gujarat and at Ratnagiri railway station in Maharashtra.
Since IRCTC has often faced criticism for the quality of food which it serves to its passengers, it has been a constant endeavour of Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry to improve the hygiene standards of food that is served on trains and at stations. Following this crucial concern, the Railway Ministry has introduced several measures on the catering front such as live streaming facility of IRCTC base kitchens, Menu on Rails app, PoS (Point Of Sale) machines among others. Additionally, IRCTC is also making use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure hygienic food reaches its passengers.