The Indian Railways is the lifeline of our country where multitudinous travel and scale the dimensions of our country everyday. So, it becomes imperative to serve food of high quality to the travelers who commute sometimes for more than 2 days. But, a recent Comptroller and Auditor General audit report states otherwise!
The joint inspection of the CAG team and the railways selected 74 stations and 80 trains after which this report was prepared. Based on their observations, a report was prepared which reveals repugnant facts about the quality and service of food served in the trains.
- Contaminated foodstuff.
- Recycled foodstuff.
- Expired packaged and bottled items.
- Unauthorized brands of water.
- Lack of cleanliness and hygiene.
- No bills provided to the purchased food items.
- Inadequate quantity of food provided.
- Flies, cockroach, insects and dust found in the trains.
The audit has found fault with frequent changes in catering policy of the railways which has led to a state of uncertainty in the management of catering services provided to the passengers.
The catering plans have undergone through three changes since 2005; the latest one being that in February 2017.
The audit report says,
“Unpurified water straight from the tap was used in the preparation of beverages, waste bins were not found covered, not emptied regularly and not washed, food stuff was not covered to protect them from flies, insects and dust, rats and cockroaches were found in trains, etc.”
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is the world’s fourth-largest network which provides meals to about 11 lakhs passengers daily. Being from one of the fastest developing economy in the world, such below standard management for the provision of food puts a big dent in the progress and needs to be dealt with stringent rules to improve the quality by organizing timely checks and audits.