Indian Railways passengers travelling in trains are often not sure about the quality of food available on platforms of intermediate stations. But, that’s set to change with a new Railway Board order that will soon allow IRCTC stalls to sell food on platforms as well! Financial Express Online learns that while IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) stalls are situated in the concourse area of railway stations, the sale of food by them is not allowed on platforms. Sources told FE Online that the quality of food provided by vendors on the platforms may not meet all quality standards, however with this new step, passengers will be able to purchase better quality food from IRCTC stalls.
According to the circular by the Railway Board, zonal railways have now been empowered to permit platform vending at stations depending on the local requirements of catering services for passengers. The circular further states that this permission, by zonal railways, can be given to to food plazas, refreshment rooms and other static catering stalls located at platforms. The move will come as a huge relief for passengers who often find it difficult to purchase good quality food on platforms of major and intermediate stations.
Indian Railways has been working to improve the quality of food on its trains and platforms under its new Catering Policy of 2017. Recently, to monitor the quality of food being supplied on trains, IRCTC installed high-definition CCTV cameras in its kitchens. These cameras are linked to an artificial intelligence-based system that helps detects anomalies in the kitchen such as presence of rodents, lizards and insects. A ticket is generated by the system which has to be addressed in a time-bound manner.
Also, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has recently said that passengers should not pay for food on trains if the vendor is unable to provide a bill. IRCTC is also making use of PoS (Point-of-Sale) machines for passengers convenience. Both these steps are aimed at reducing the menace of overcharging by vendors.