SECUNDERABAD: South Central Railway has been undertaking continuous special drives against unauthorized hawkers all over the Zone, with a view to curb the menace of the unauthorized sale of eatables, beverages etc,. in trains. These special drives, under the direction of Shri M.G. Sekharam, Principal Chief Commercial Manager, SCR involves the participation of officers/inspectors of the Commercial department, ticket checking staff, Railway Protection Force personnel etc., and come against the backdrop of Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR advising strict action against unauthorized hawking by trains on the Zone.
During the financial year from April 2017 to March 2018, a total of 9069 cases of unauthorized hawking were booked and an amount of over Rs.1.15 crore was realized as penalty for the offence, from the unauthorized hawkers nabbed during the special drives. The checks against unauthorized hawkers include special drives conducted under the supervision of Principal Chief Commercial Manager, decoy checks on trains and stations, using secret cameras procured specifically for the purpose, checks by magisterial squads leading to prosecution of those indulging in unauthorized hawking, inspection of licensed catering units/stalls to check on the manpower and quality of food etc,. Meetings have been conducted with catering licensees at major locations to educate them on the need to ensure quality, hygiene, correct pricing and authorized vendors to sale the eatables and beverages to rail passengers. The licensees were also strictly advised to take up contracts after proper analysis, so as to avoid resorting to wrong means for making profits.
Acting on the directives of the Hon’ble Minister of Railways who has accorded highest priority for providing top class catering services on Indian Railways, SCR has implemented a host of initiatives. Every Vendor and employee of the catering licensees/contractors needs to carry a valid identity card issued by the department or otherwise is treated as unauthorized hawker and prosecuted. The vendors also need to wear their uniform. The main cause of deficiency in catering services has been identified as overcharging on food items, quality of raw material, inexperienced cooks, sale of unbranded and unapproved items, less quantity of food etc,. The catering contractors were advised not to indulge in such practices and ensure that their appointed vendors charge the passengers correctly and behave with them properly.
With a view to ensure quality of service, SCR has also come up with a policy to rationalize the number of vendors permitted for different types of catering units at different category of stations, so as to monitor the system effectively. Distribution of menu cards by pantry contractors to passengers in the trains is also a mandatory condition to be complied. The Commercial department of the Zone has drawn a plan of action to continuously monitor the catering services and initiate stringent action against any lapse on the front. Apart from imposing fines against delinquent catering contractors, other avenue of action including termination of contract is also contemplated.