Complaints over substandard food flood Railways

Despite its tall claims, the Railways has received over 7,400 complaints for supplying substandard food and poor hygiene on its trains, it has been disclosed.

However, the public sector giant chose to terminate the services of only 23 contractors against whom complaints were filed.

A fine was imposed on the contractors concerned in 1,543 cases, while a mere warning was issued in 2,372 cases. According to the figures submitted by the Railway Ministry in Parliament, of the total 7,433 complaints received from passengers between February 1 2010 to January 31, 2013, 5,007 pertained to hygiene, while 2,613 were related to the substandard food supplied on the trains.

Of the total complaints received, as many as 4,000 were directed at IRCTC services. The maximum number of complaints were received by the Northern Railway(1,280) followed by the Central Railway(521)and the South-Eastern Railway(435).

Railway officials said that as part of the efforts to address the complaints of hygiene and substandard food, they had decided to set up ‘base kitchens’ at prominent stations where the meals could be prepared.

The Railways intends to set up a grid of modern, medium and small ‘base kitchens’. These kitchens would provide quality food to the passengers at stations and even on trains, thus doing away with the need to prepare food on the trains.

The ‘base kitchens’, which require mandatory ISO-22000 certification, are to be managed by licensees or through departmental catering if possible. Moreover, the raw material to be used in the ‘base kitchens’ should be Agmark -approved, officials added.