The next time you have lunch on train, you might not have to settle for leathery chapatis and bland daal. You might just find burgers from McDonald’s and rolls from Nirula’s on the menu.
Under fire from the Delhi High court for the “unhygienic” state of railway pantry cars, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to seek the services of reputed food chains McDonald’s and Nirula’s for an image makeover.
A surprise check by a court-appointed committee in November had revealed the nauseating state of kitchens in Jammu Rajdhani, Karnataka Express, Chhattisgarh Express, Purushottam Express, Punjab Mail and Swaraj Express trains -- first reported by the Hindustan Times on November 23. Following this, the court had sought a report from the IRCTC.
Additional Solicitor-General Milon Banerjee, appearing for the corporation on Wednesday, told the court that 150 locations have been identified to set up kitchens from where food will be loaded onto the trains. The IRCTC, he said, is also finalising contracts with McDonald’s and Nirula’s in developing some of the base kitchens. Cooking inside the pantry cars will be kept to a minimum, keeping in mind the difficulty in maintaining cleanliness, he said. The IRCTC also held a meeting on the issue of hygiene and quality.
Banerjee said a cleanliness drive was launched in two phases in December 2006 and January 2007. The corporation submitted that the employees of all licensees were being trained in hospitality, cleanliness, food management and courtesy. The court was hearing a PIL by lawyer Varun Goswami on the issue.
Goswami, also a member of the committee, revealed that food was stored in dirty containers and kept in the open inside the pantry cars.