New Delhi: Those thinking of travelling in trains can soon enjoy a plate of chicken chettinad, dhokla or chila in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto. The Indian Railways is planning to introduce a new catering policy for the Rajadhani, Shatabdi and Duranto and the menu will be split region wise into Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern.
Pre-packed ready to eat meals will be introduced while welcome drinks will also be served. Sale of tea, coffee, soft drinks, tetra packs and other snacks will no longer be permitted. A circular has been issued to that effect and the cleanliness in the pantry cars will be a priority again.
The Indian Railways will also soon begin trials of better quality food on certain trains. Food chain Haldirams will supply food in the Karnataka Express and Paschim Express, which will be vegetarian. For the Bangalore-Ahmedabad Express, ITC will supply both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Based on passenger feedback, this will be implemented in other trains as well. Godrej, Vadilal and Tysen Food are also interested in catering for the Railways. The government is considering allowing them to cater other trains after 15 days.
The move comes days after the Railways fined nine caterers, including the IRCTC, for serving poor quality food. A cockroach was found in the food served in the Kolkata Rajdhani.
Besides Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), RK Associates, Sunshine Caterers, Satyam Caterers, Brandavan Food Products were among those fined. Besides Kolkata Rajdhani, other trains covered during the special drive include Paschim Express, Pushpak Express, Motihari Express, Shiv Ganga Express, Golden Temple Mail, Netravati Express, Punjab Mail, Howrah-Amritsar Mail and Chandigarh Shatabdi.
While in some trains food was found to be kept in unhygienic conditions, in others it was either found to be stale or substandard, the official said, adding, fines ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh have been imposed.
Plagued by a number of complaints regarding the quality of food, Railways have made a concerted attempt to improve quality of food being served in trains. Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had announced in the Rail Budget to make course correction in catering service to address the problem.