Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: Although Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda has announced a comprehensive revamp of railway catering services, commuters on long-distance trains continue to undergo the ordeal of being served poor quality food.
And, the rot in the system is not limited to normal express trains but is also the norm in premiere trains like the Rajdhani Express.
In the latest incident, a cockroach was found in the meal served to a passenger on the 2305 Up Kolkata-New Delhi Rajdhani Express on Sunday night.
All hell broke loose after the news spread, with angry passengers lodging protest over the issue. They forced the train to halt at Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh for an hour.
As per reports, the food was loaded on to the train at its earlier stop, Patna.
Over the years, there have been repeated instances of substandard food being served by the railways with the authorities finding it difficult to ensure that quality is maintained by the vendors.
With a partly sum prescribed as the fine amount, the vendors have been, all along, dodging the responsibility to provide hygienic meals to the rail passengers.
In its first budget, the Narendra Modi government has announced a major drive to bring about change in railway catering.
Among the measures announced by the railways is the introduction of ready-to-eat meals of reputed brands in a phased manner.
Regional cuisine will be served at food courts at major stations, which can be booked through email, SMS and smartphones, onboard trains.
To ensure quality, the railways will introduce a quality assurance mechanism through a third party audit carried out by agencies certified by the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies.
Also, a system – IVRS - of collecting feedback from commuters on food served will be launched shortly.
Rail Minister Gowda has also promised severe action, including cancellation of the contract, against vendors if the quality does not meet standards.