IRCTC’s live streaming of kitchens a failed operation already? Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had recently launched the much publicised live streaming of its kitchen operations. Launched by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, the live-streaming of IRCTC kitchens operations was Indian Railways attempt at focusing on transparency. The live feed of kitchens has been hosted on the IRCTC website under the Gallery section. However, within days of launch the section shows only a few videos and that too pre-recorded clips, instead of live streaming from various IRCTC kitchens. While the live streaming was launched as a pilot scheme, the failure to show kitchen operations on a real-time basis is sure to cause embarrassment to Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways.
An IRCTC official that Financial Express Online spoke to said that the live-streaming site is undergoing maintenance work. “The feeds were always a bit delayed, but for the past week the feed is down for maintenance work. We should be able to start live streaming soon,” the official said on the condition of anonymity. The fact that the website needs maintenance within days of launch reflects poorly on IRCTC and Indian Railways.
A few months ago IRCTC had adopted the use of artificial intelligence to keep track of hygiene standards for food preparation in its kitchens. High-definition CCTV cameras have been installed in IRCTC kitchens across the country, the feed of which is monitored in Delhi. The artificial intelligence system spots anomalies in the kitchen operations such as chefs working without caps, presence of rodents and cats, and even cockroaches and lizards eventually. Once an error is spotted, a ticket is automatically generated and the complaint has to be addressed by the kitchen manager within a stipulated period of time. The system is aimed at bringing greater accountability in operations as well. It is this very feed from the CCTV cameras that has been hosted on the IRCTC website on a pilot basis.
IRCTC on its part is in the process of implementing the Catering Policy of 2017 which aims to revamp the food and kitchen operations for trains and stations. To step up the quality of food it provides without increasing rates, IRCTC is also introducing revamped meals on premium trains – food with lesser quantity and Clarissa, but of better quality. Last year, Indian Railways had faced severe criticism after a CAG report had called the food served on the national transporter’s trains and stations unfit for human consumption.
The live streaming of IRCTC’s kitchen operations is an attempt by Indian Railways to build trust in the public about the food that they consume on trains. However, one part of the process is also about how food is stored on trains, an area that Indian Railways should not ignore if it wants to effectively address passengers complaints.