Free Press Journal

Indian Railways to provide fresh food cooked after every 2 hours


New Delhi: Plagued with complaints, Railways plan to provide fresh food cooked at base kitchens in trains after every two hours to the passengers.

Railways, which provide about 11 lakh meals to passengers every day, has separated cooking and distribution of food under the recently launched new catering policy.

“We have decided to provide good quality food to our passengers and for that we have decided to have base kitchens at several places so that fresh food can be picked up at every two-hours of travel,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the round table conference on catering here.

Participated by representatives from the food and beverage industry, self-help groups, senior IRCTC and railway officials, the round table conference aims to formulate a roadmap under the new catering policy to provide best catering service at rail premises.

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Admitting complaints against food served in trains, Prabhu said, “Whenever complaints come we always take prompt action. We had detailed discussion before formulating the policy and today we are having discussion for its smooth implementation.”

Taking note of overcharging of food in trains, he said the issue will be taken up at the conference today.

“We have announced a new catering policy. There were many complaints against catering service. There were complaints against those who have got the catering responsibility under our earlier catering policy,” he said.

Seeking participation of private players in food business for setting up base kitchens near stations, Prabhu said, “We have decided how to provide good quality food to our passengers. So we decided to have base kitchens at many places across the country. The base kitchens will be mechanised kitchens with less human intervention. It can be done through PPP mode.”

He said base kitchens will benefit passengers as fresh food can be picked up in trains in every two hours which even airlines cannot do. On the distribution front, Prabhu also sought participation of reputed caterers.

“Delivery of food is important for an effective catering service. Delivery of fresh food in trains can also be done by reputed caterers with proper quality control mechanism,” he added.

  • Venkat Swamy

    For ages, Indian Railway has been used by touts and anti-social elements like the proverbial ‘baap ka maal’. Today’s passengers are not tomorrows passengers and that emboldens this folk. Except grumbling for a few minutes most of us do not do a dam against the errant vendors, many of whom are unhygienic, unlicensed and perhaps goons. Try questioning them and you will find even the TTE or other rail staff throwing up their arms. The task of railway catering itself is full of challenges. Cleaning up the system across the country is a mammoth task which will take time, political courage, decentralised controls with authority, and a message going out loud and clear that Mr. Prabhu and his team does mean business.
    In 2020, if I can get palatable food at reasonable prices (marginally higher than a restaurant),I am happy, assuming I am still around and travelling. I have some great thoughts, albeit vegetarian, and am willing to share with anyone who cares to listen.