NEW DELHI: To provide quality food to passengers in trains, railways has decided to hand over catering services to railway PSU IRCTC which will be setting up new mechanised kitchens and fixed rates for meals in trains.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched Catering Policy 2017 that separates the functioning of cooking and food distribution onboard. IRCTC shall determine the menu of standard meals and a-la-carte items. The standard meals served in trains shall be within the fixed tariff approved by Railway Board.
The policy also empowers the IRCTC to empanel 'self help groups' for providing catering-related services. The catering policy was last reviewed in 2010 under Mamata Banerjee as railway minister.
“To ensure quality, hygiene and cleanliness, meals for all mobile units will be picked up from the nominated kitchen owned and operated by IRCTC. The corporation can engage service providers from hospitality sector for service for food in trains,” said the new policy.
IRCTC shall determine the menu of standard meals, in consultation with zonal railways, keeping into consideration the local taste and cuisine.
With complaints of overcharging in trains, the policy states that rates of standard, a-la-carte and ready to eat meals shall be displayed prominently in coaches.
“IRCTC shall not outrightly outsource or issue licences for provision of catering services to private licensees. It will take over the management of contracts for catering in all trains immediately that have not been awarded so far,” the policy added.