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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

After receiving 686 food complaints, IRCTC to live-stream from rail kitchens

Around 276 complaints over quality of food were in regards to catering on Rajdhani trains alone

mumbai Updated: Sep 16, 2018 22:41 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Rajdhani Express train at New Delhi.
Rajdhani Express train at New Delhi.(HT Photo)

The Indian Railways has received 686 complaints over poor quality of food served onboard its outstation trains across the country. The Indian Rail Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) that looks after catering and online operations of the Railways has received complaints from premium trains as well including the Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto. Union railway minister Piyush Goyal has now asked IRCTC officials to set up a system for live-streaming of the base kitchens so that the public can view the entire food making process live.

The complaints were recorded between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018. Despite 686 complaints being received, only 31 cases were registered and fines totaling ₹2,77,500 collected from the contractors.

Around 276 complaints over quality of food were in regards to catering on Rajdhani trains alone but only seven cases were registered and ₹85,000 charged in fines.

In regards to Shatabdi and Duronto Express, eight and 23 complaints respectively were raised, of which only one case in each was registered. A fine of ₹10,000 and ₹5,000 respectively was collected from the contractors, according to data released by Indian Railways.

Further, between April and June 2018, the Railways received 49 complaints of poor quality food. Eight cases were registered against contractors for Rajdhani, four for Shatabdi, and three for Duronto Express. A total of 17 cases were registered and fines amounting to ₹1,96,000 were charged.

Meanwhile, 784 cases of overcharging for food items were also reported onboard the trains between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 following which 404 cases were registered and ₹32,55,000 in fines was collected.

Railway officials have stated that the cases of poor food quality and overcharging have gone down as the IRCTC has increased the amount of fines. “We have taken such cases very seriously and have started charging hefty fines from the contractors,” said Pinakin Morawala, spokesperson, IRCTC.

The issue was also discussed in a review meeting called by Goyal along with Central, Western, and Konkan Railway officials. According to one official present at the meeting, Goyal had pulled up officials for not being able to maintain proper hygiene in the base kitchens. IRCTC has its base kitchen at Mumbai Central, CSMT, Nagpur, Bhusawal and Baroda. “The railway minister also instructed the IRCTC to set up live streaming of its base kitchens so that passengers can view the food preparation,” said the official said.

Earlier, CCTV cameras were set up at the kitchens to monitor the food.

There have also been 32 complaints of misbehavior with passengers by catering staff, out of which only three cases were registered and ₹17,500 was recovered in fines. Between April and June 2018, there were also 111 complaints of overcharging, of which 79 were registered and ₹10,80,000 was recovered in fines.

First Published: Sep 16, 2018 22:38 IST