Imposition of "stringent punitive action including heavy penalties in case of deficiencies in services" and quality assurance programmes by means of third party audit are being taken to improve catering in trains, the minister said
The union government on Thursday said various steps, including imposition of heavy penalties on entities for deficient services, are being initiated to ensure good quality catering in trains.
Acknowledging that there are many complaints about catering in trains, Railways Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said measures are being taken to serve "quality and hygienic food at reasonable and affordable rates".
"This is one area where we are getting so much of complaints such as catering facilities are not good, hygiene issues, overcharging for food and misbehaviour by caterers," Gowda told the Lok Sabha.
Listing out measures for improvement, the Minister said imposition of "stringent punitive action including heavy penalties in case of deficiencies in services" and quality assurance programmes by means of third party audit are being taken.
Besides, Gowda said introduction of pre-cooked food to improve quality and hygiene is being proposed.
"A pilot project for feedback of the passengers through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) has been launched in five trains," he said during Question Hour.
According to him, zonal railways ensure quality, and affordable food items are served to passengers through static and mobile units.
"A detailed mechanism for monitoring through regular, surprise and periodical inspections of the units has been put in place by the zonal railways.
"Catering Services Monitoring Cells have been set up for real time redressal of complaints on zonal railways," Gowda said.
In July 2010, a new catering policy was introduced.