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Better train kitchens in a year

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation will take six to eight months to get food quality at par with the best standards, reports Avishek G Dastidar.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2006 04:10 IST

The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), under flak from the High Court for the unhygienic condition of its kitchens, will take another "six to eight months" to ensure that the food it supplies on trains across the country is on a par with the best standards in terms of taste and hygiene.

"IRCTC is a nascent organisation. Around a year ago, it inherited the state of affairs that existed prior to its formation. It will take time before the entire system is set right," PK Goyal, managing director, IRCTC, said on Thursday.

Acting on a public interest petition, the Delhi High Court had on Wednesday directed IRCTC to "take necessary actions" to overcome the shortcomings in services. Goyal said the court's prayer asking the company not to replace the present contractor for its kitchen services until everything was set right had tied their hands. "How are we supposed to better things if we cannot hire new contractors?" he asked.

However, according to Goyal, IRCTC has already initiated a slew of measures to improve its services. To receive constant feedback from consumers, the company has opened six control centres in five locations across the country, including two in Delhi.

“The necessary contact details are posted on our website and in railway stations. All complaints will be looked into within 48 hours," he said. That apart, he said, that around 100 officials had been deployed to carry out surprise inspections on trains with pantry cars.

Services, he said, would also be enhanced, once IRCTC's national call centre became operational in March. "March onwards, all you need to do is dial 139 and access all information relating to tourism and catering. One can also lodge complaints over the phone," Goyal said.

'Niche menus' for passengers with health problems

IRCTC plans to provide "niche menus" for passenger with health problems. Starting with Rajdhanis, all trains will have on board a tailor-made list of food items for passengers with diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac ailments.

Email Avishek G Dastidar: avishek.dastidar@hindustantimes