In its endeavour to provide quality and hygienic food to the passengers, Railways have developed and operationalized an institutionalized mechanism for monitoring of quality and hygiene of catering services through regular inspections at various levels to address catering complaints. Penal action is taken against the licensee depending upon the gravity of lapse, which inter-alia includes imposition of hefty fines and termination of contract.
A few complaints on cleanliness of coaches are received which are addressed by Railway. Further, cleaning of coaches including toilets is done at both ends in all trains.
Following schemes are also provided for cleanliness of coaches:-
(i) On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS) has been provided in nearly 800 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and other important long distance Mail/Express trains for cleaning of coach toilets, doorways, aisles & passenger compartments during the run of the trains.
(ii) Clean My Coach Services is also provided in OBHS trains in which passenger may send a Short Message Service (SMS) on a specified Mobile number. OBHS staff travelling on the same train, contacts the passenger and carries out the cleaning work as per demand.
(iii) Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme has also been prescribed for limited mechanized cleaning attention to identified trains including cleaning of toilets during their scheduled stoppages en-route at nominated stations. 39 Clean Train Stations are presently working.
The corrective measures taken/being taken to ensure hot and hygienic food is available to the passengers in trains and at stations, are as under:-
I. Penal Action arising out of irregularities, complaints and inspections:-
(i) Stringent action is taken by Railways and IRCTC against erring contractors. One contract has been terminated, one is under notice for termination while 16 contractors have been blacklisted for breach of terms of contracts in the last one year.
(ii) A fine of Rs 1.8 crore (approximately) has been collected in 2108 cases in the last one year.
II. Catering Complaint Monitoring & Redressal
(i) Operation of Centralized Catering Service Monitoring Cell (CSMC) (toll free number 1800-111-321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to the catering and real time assistance to travelling public. This Cell gives real time assistance to 250-300 passengers per day.
(ii) Inspections at various levels are conducted in trains and stations wherein feedback from passengers through surveys for enhanced satisfaction of the passengers is taken.
(iii) A Twitter handle with the address @IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.
(iv) Operation of All India Helpline (No.138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/ suggestions regarding food and catering services.
III. Other significant initiatives
(i) E-catering has been implemented at 357 A1 and A category stations for widening the range of options available to passengers for ordering fresh and hot food of their choice. Further proliferation at other major stations is being ensured.
(ii) Empanelment of Self Help Groups (SHGs) to provide healthy, wholesome regional cuisine at an affordable cost to the travelling public through e-catering has been initiated and 9 SHGs have been empanelled at 10 stations.
(iii) Introduction of ‘Ready to Eat’ (RTE) precooked food on trains has been mandated by Ministry of Railways through IRCTC to ensure supply of hot meals.
This Press Release is based on the information given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 29.03.2017 (Wednesday).