N.F.Railway has started a 3 week inspection drive of catering units’ from 26th July of last month. Catering units include pantry cars, base kitchens and static units located at stations. In N.F.Railway there are seven base kitchens which are located at Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Kamakhya, New Coochbehar, New Jalpaiguri(2 nos) and Katihar.
During inspection aspects like location, ISO certification, capacity, staffing, mechanization, cleanliness, hygiene, quality & quantity of food and other parameters are properly checked.
During the first week of the drive, as many as 18 pantry cars have been inspected during which a total of Rs. 2, 80,000/- has been recovered as penalty from the vendors for non adherence to standards laid down by railway authority.
At least 4 base kitchens have also been inspected and a fine to the tune of Rs. 1, 00,000/- has been recovered from erring contractors.
In additions to this 6 food stalls, 3 food plazas, 4 refreshment rooms and 1 Janahar unit has also been inspected and a sum of Rs. 1,82,000/- has been recovered as penalty.
It would be pertinent to mention here that as a part of New Catering Policy enunciated by Railway Board w.e.f. 27th February, 2017 IRCTC has been mandated to carry out unbundling of catering services on trains by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution.
A centralised Catering Services Monitoring Cell (CSMC) has been set up in Board’s office having a toll free number 1800-111-321 for prompt redressal of the passenger grievances related to the catering activities for real time assistance to travelling public. Further, on the same pattern Catering Services Monitoring Cells have been set up at Zonal and Divisional level for daily monitoring of the catering activities.
Operation of all India helpline number 138 for rail users in the moving train. A twitter handle with the address of @IRCATERING has also been established to cater to the complaints/Suggestions. Indian Railway has been providing assistance to passengers on real time basis and prompt disposal of their grievance through social media is being taken.