Fed up with complaints about food served on trains, Railways has decided to deploy international food auditing firms who do quality checks at five star hotels to do its quality assessment. On Thursday, it abandoned its one-week-old menu on Rajdhanis and Shatabdis following constant passenger complaints.
As a pilot project at present, a Swedish company is carrying out third-party audit of the food and hygiene on the premium trains on the Mumbai-Howrah route. It will present its report to the Railway Ministry on November 5.
“There are renowned multinational auditing firms who do quality audits for five star hotels. Once we get the report for this one, we will formalise this policy and call for tenders for all trains. And we will recover the cost from the vendor who serves food on trains,” D P Pande, Member (Traffic), Railway Board, told The Indian Express.
The firms will not only check quality and quantity of food served but will also assess the condition in which the food is made and served, the hygiene standards and the like, he said. In the past one week, two catering vendors have been fined Rs 1 lakh each based on complaints from passengers. “We will revise the upper limit of the fines to be charged from errant vendors so that the heavy fine becomes a deterrent,” he said.
After rolling out a new menu with reduced food items and at the same time jacking up their prices on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains on October 17, Railways quickly reverted to the old menu on Thursday because passengers had been complaining of getting “too less for more money”.
“Due to some feedback that these changes were not appreciated by some sections of travelling passengers. regular meal, in place of Combo Meal has been restored now. Quantities reduced in certain dishes have also been restored,” Railways said.
The ticket prices increased due to the changed menu, however, will remain the same for now.