Cracking down on errant caterers, railways have terminated a food contract and blacklisted 16 contractors besides collecting a fine of Rs 1.8 crore in 2,108 cases related to food complaints in the last one year.
In its endeavour to provide quality and hygienic food to passengers, railways have developed and operationalised an institutionalised mechanism for monitoring of quality and hygiene of catering services through regular inspections at various levels to address catering complaints.
A centralised catering service monitoring cell (CSMC) has been operationalised to monitor and address the complaints from passengers besides a toll free number (1800-111- 321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to catering has been in operation for real time assistance to the travelling public.
The CSMC gives real time assistance to 250-300 passengers per day, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with catering.
On the stringest measures taken against caterers, he said one contract has been terminated, another is under notice for termination while 16 contractors have been blacklisted for breach of terms of contracts in the last one year.
Penal action arising out of irregularities, complaints and inspections are regularly taken against the licensee depending upon the gravity of lapse.
Inspections at various levels are conducted in trains and stations wherein feedback from passengers through surveys for enhanced satisfaction of the passengers is taken.
A Twitter handle with the address @IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.
Another helpline (138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/suggestions regarding food and catering services is operational.
Railways have also implemented e-catering facility at 357 major stations to provide wider options to passengers.
Introduction of ready to eat and precooked food on trains has also been introduced through IRCTC to ensure supply of hot meals.