Just one day after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, slammed Indian Railways in its report for serving poor quality food, the Ministry of Railways on Saturday took to Twitter to provide the details of its New Catering Policy which was issued on 27 February 2017 with the objective to provide quality food to rail passengers.
The CAG performance audit found unpurified tap water being used to make beverages, uncovered and unwashed waste bins, food left out in the open, and rats and cockroaches at catering units in trains and stations. In a series of tweets, the Ministry established the fact that IRCTC has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution. It said that the IRCTC will set up new kitchens and upgrade the old ones to improve the quality of food preparation.
“IRCTC shall manage catering service on all mobile units. Pantry car contracts awarded by zonal railway shall also be reassigned to IRCTC. Meals for all mobile units will be picked up from the nominated kitchens owned, operated and managed by IRCTC,” the Ministry said. It further added that the IRCTC will not have the right to outsource or issue licenses for provision of catering services to private licensees. “IRCTC shall retain the ownership & shall be fully accountable for all issues pertaining to operation of the Base Kitchens & quality of food. IRCTC will engage service providers from hospitality industry for service of food in trains,” the tweets further added.
The space/land for the kitchen will be provided to IRCTC by the zonal railways for a period of 10 years with an option to extend for another 5 years. Apart from this, IRCTC will also be responsible for management of Food Plaza, Food Courts, Fast food units within the ambit of this policy. The ministry has asked IRCTC to set up different types of kitchens for food supply. “IRCTC shall develop the Business model for the kitchens so that they can expand and enhance the service,” the Railway ministry tweeted.
Defining the period of static units and food plaza, the ministry said tenure of all static units (except kitchen units and Food Plaza) shall be 5 years only while for the food plazas will be 9 years as the provision of perpetual renewal has been done away with.