Have your doubts about food on Indian Railways trains? Do you want to be sure about the hygiene standards of food that is being served to you? Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is planning to take an unusual step of live-streaming food preparation at IRCTC kitchens! Now, before you order food on trains, or opt for pre-booked meals, don’t forget to check the IRCTC website where the live-streaming from various base kitchens will be available. According to a ToI report, Indian Railways has come up with this idea to check cooks from cutting corners and to make sure that poor quality food is not served. The report quoted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal as saying that CCTV cameras will be installed in all base kitchens and the footage from them would be made available to the public!
Indian Railways is also mulling the option of developing an app so that passengers can keep an eye on the kitchens while travelling. The Railway Minister believes that will be empowering for passengers and will bring transparency into the system. So far, 16 out of 200 base kitchens of IRCTC, which is the catering arm of Indian Railways, have been provided with CCTV cameras. These base kitchens are located across Delhi, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Jhansi etc. along major railway routes. The other base kitchens will be provided with CCTV cameras gradually. Every day, Indian Railways serves 12 lakh meals, out of which 10 lakh meals are served on board trains.
The decision taken by Piyush Goyal appears to be driven by artificial intelligence (AI) vision detection system and to tap in-house talent in the form of a module developed by IRCTC. The camera footage is analyzed by the AI module in order to detect an anomaly in the standard operating procedure (SOP). The system, which was installed recently, identifies anomalies of headgear, uniforms, rodents etc. across kitchens, following which it raises issues to be dealt with IRCTC accordingly.
Once the artificial intelligence captures an issue, the system automatically generates a ticket. Also, for necessary action, an alert for the same is sent to all concerned officials through email and portal. As per predefined procedure, escalation matrix is followed. Additionally, passengers will be able to see the performance of the base kitchens over a period of time through reports, which will be published online.
IRCTC has also recently launched a new app, ‘Menu on Rails’, which aims to check the menace of overcharging by vendors on trains. Passengers can now download the app and know the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) for food available across all categories of trains. Additionally, PoS (Point Of Sale) machines are increasingly being used in trains to check any chance of ad-hoc charging for food items.