A policy of zero tolerance towards poor quality of food and bedding is being strictly enforced by Indian Railways. In current financial year, 12 catering contracts have been terminated for complaints or other contractual deficiencies. In case of unsatisfactory work or passenger complaint regarding bed roll, suitable penalty is imposed on the contractor as per contract conditions. Regular inspections are done at various levels to monitor the quality of bedding and catering services.
Some steps taken for providing cleaner bedding are as below :
- Washing of bed linen (except blanket) is done after every single use. Blankets are cleaned at least once in two months.
- To improve the quality of washing of bed linen, 58 mechanized laundries have been set up in the railways, covering nearly 65 % of linen washing requirement. Most of the remaining linen is also washed in outside mechanised laundries through contracts.
- Nominated storage places with facilities like racks and compactors are provided for storage of linen.
- Sample checking of washed linen is done before dispatch from laundry.
- Regular inspections are carried out by officers and supervisors for compliance to the norms for washing of linen items.
The following steps have been taken for provision of better meals to passengers :
- New Catering Policy has been issued in February, 2017, wherein inter-alia, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been mandated to create a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution.
- IRCTC is to set up new kitchens and upgrade existing ones.
- Optional Catering service has been introduced as a pilot project for 180 days from August, 2017 on 32 Rajdhani /Shatabdi/Duranto trains under the management of IRCTC.
- Introduction of station based E-Catering for widening the options of food choice.
- Pilot for introduction of pre-cooked food in the range of options available to passengers.
- Operation of All India helpline No. 138 for lodging complaints / suggestions pertaining to food and catering services and Operation of Centralized Catering Service Monitoring Cell (CSMC) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances and real time assistance related to catering.
- A Twitter handle @ IRCATERING has been made operational for complaints/suggestions pertaining to catering services.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.
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