Railways to take over catering services from IRCTC

Last Updated: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 14:25

New Delhi: In a major setback to the
IRCTC, Railways have decided to strip the PSU of its catering
responsibilities in Rajdhani, Duronto, Shatabdi and all other
mail and express trains.

The Catering Policy-2010 finalised by Railways have
clearly spelt out that "Railways shall progressively take over
management of all mobile catering services including base
kitchens, pantry cars and all food stalls in railway
premises".

At present, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism
Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), a Railway subsidiary, is responsible
for serving food in about 300 trains including in premier
trains like Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi.

With this move, IRCTC will forgo at least Rs 200
crore catering business, said a senior IRCTC official.

Railway Board will now determine the menu and tariff
for the standard meals, breakfast, tea, coffee and catering
charges for meals, etc., which are included in the fare.

The new policy comes in the wake of increased
passenger complaints about the quality of food served onboard
trains and in stations.

IRCTC will now be responsible for selling e-ticket and
i-ticket and running the Rail Neer business.

Besides, it will manage Food Plaza, Food Courts, fast
food units. However, the policy has stipulated that "all such
contracts presently being managed by IRCTC, on expiry of the
contract period, will be awarded by the zonal railways in a
phased manner".

IRCTC will not renew any contract required to be
handed over to zonal railways on expiry of the contract. At
present, there are about 65 food plazas across the country.

Railways will now formulate operating guidelines to
implement the new catering policy.

Plagued with passenger complaints, Railway Minister
Mamata Banerjee had stated in her Budget speech this year that
a new catering policy will be announced to improve the food
quality. Incidentally, IRCTC was formed during Mamata
Banerjee`s regime in 2001.

The Jan Ahaar outlets started recently by Railways to
provide affordable meals to all class of people will also be
managed by zonal railways.

The policy took over a year to be finalised. The last
policy catering policy was formulated during Lalu Prasad`s
regime in 2005.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 14:25

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