IRCTC divested of catering service in trains

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Railway ministry Friday divested the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation of managing base kitchens and on-board catering under a new a new policy intitiative and decided to run these through the zonal units, which will be accountable for the quality.

Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahai said as per the Catering Policy 2010, the Indian Railways will overtake the task in phases under its direct control and supervision.

Sahai said the new policy was created in view of the growing numbers of complaints against the quality of the food and services in trains for which ministry had to face the public criticism and even answer parliament questions over the worsening quality of food.

Sahai said the complaints against the food had grown to over around 3,527 in 2008-09 and double that number in 2009-10 compared to a 1,000 odd complaints in 2001-02.

He said ‘these numbers appear to be the tip of the iceberg only as many more complains might not have been lodged or registered at all.’

Sahai said under the new policy ‘the railways will have a nation-wide grid of modern, state-of-art base kitchens, to supply meals to mobile catering units of railways.’

‘The monitoring and supervisory mechanism will be institutionalised by the zonal railways,’ he said, adding that the performance of the service providers will be closely monitored by means of scheduled inspections, quality checks and and annual performance reports.’

IRCTC was incorporated in 2001 to take care of catering in trains. The railway subsidiary was incorporated at a time when Mamata Banerjee was the railway minister. It is being divested of its major responsibility again when Banerjee is the minister.

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