As per the catering policy 2017, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out unbundling by forming a distinction between preparation of food and distribution of food across all trains.
Big news for passengers as Indian Railways looks to improve quality of food! In a bid to provide better quality, healthier food to railway passengers, last year, a new catering policy was issued by Railway Ministry. As per the catering policy 2017, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out unbundling by forming a distinction between preparation of food and distribution of food across all trains. According to Railway Ministry, IRCTC will now come up with newly built kitchens and will also upgrade the existing kitchens in order to improve the quality of food for railway passengers.
In order to examine each and every catering unit (mobile and static) including base kitchens, cell kitchens across all railway divisions, the national transporter has issued guidelines to all railway divisions for conducting joint inspections by medical, commercial and concerned infrastructure maintenance departments. Also, Food Safety Officers, Designated Officers and Joint Food Safety Commissioners will conduct regular and surprise inspections to maintain the quality of food items. In addition to these, surprise checks will be carried out by a joint team of TTE staff and RPF or GRP staff, to prevent unauthorized vending across trains and railway stations. According to Railway Ministry, Indian Railways has also requested General Managers of all railway divisions to personally keep a track of such drives.
Under Food Safety and Standard Act, food samples collected by Food Safety Officers across railways and are sent for analysis and testing. Therefore, for such analysis and testing, food samples are sent to the nominated accredited laboratories. Further to this, in case any unsatisfactory food sample is detected, then under Food Safety and Standard Rule 2011, penalties are imposed and prosecutions are carried out.
In last three years, till October 31, 2017, Indian Railways received 9,804 complaints over quality of food in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains. Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways said that in the last three years, 3,486 caterers have been fined, 3,624 caterers were warned, contracts were terminated for 10 caterers and 1,134 caterers were suitably advised. Also, 467 complaints over food quality were remained unsubstantiated, while 44 complaints saw disciplinary action, he added.