New Delhi: Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain on Wednesday said that the Indian Railways has asked Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) to set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones wherever required to improve the quality of food served to the passengers.
"In accordance with the new Catering Policy issued on 27th February 2017, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution on trains", Rajen Gohain said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
"Furthermore, the IRCTC has been asked to set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones in order to upgrade quality of food preparation", he added.
"Zonal Railways are to manage minor static units (catering stall /milk stalls/trolleys etc.) except base kitchens and kitchen units. The policy mandates the zonal railways to hand over the kitchens managed by them to IRCTC", the minister said.
"Food Plaza, Fast Food Units and Food Court will continue to be managed by IRCTC", the minister said.
At present, IRCTC has taken over almost all units in phased manner. Further, the procedure/guidelines/policy laid down for allotment of contracts for running various stalls at railway platforms have been simplified.
"This revamping of existing railway catering system by carrying out unbundling under Catering Policy 2017 is primarily aimed at providing quality hygienic food to our customers at affordable prices and any consequential boost to revenue earnings thereof is only incidental to the above exercise", the minister said.
The IRCTC has recently taken a number of initiatives to upgrade mobile catering services including introduction of meal Trays of bio-degradable material with air tight sealed cover for packing of meals, appointment of qualified service staff, provision of hand sanitizers, billing by POS machines and introduction of 'Ready to Eat Meals' in order to enable passengers to have variety.
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