Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is now offering IRCTC e-catering services, its new technology based railway catering services. Indian Railways is still the most travelled and preferred method of transportation in India, whether you’re travelling for business, on an emergency basis or for vacation, trains remain the first choice. Thus, every service related to travelling in train is a matter of utmost importance as far as the Indian Railways and IRCTC are concerned.
As we are progressing as an economy, we are travelling a lot overseas. This is influencing our habits, preferences and travel demands to a great extent. Within the country also, we have become more quality conscious and service oriented than we used to be, say, even twenty years back. These have led to some systemic changes in the entire railways management and this also includes the catering on trains.
• The Complaints –
Last year, the Ministry of Railways was flooded with serious quality issues regarding the food served in Indian trains. Somewhere dead insects were found in the meals, somewhere the food was not at all consumable and somewhere the timing went all haywire. The constant flood of complaint led the ministry to organise a surprise inspection operation. Based on the results of the inspection, the ministry decided to re-think the catering policy and a number of catering service providers, including IRCTC itself were reprimanded and fined.
As a result, a new catering policy came into being. It was decided that local items would be served in trains. Packed food and drinks like juices, tea and coffee, were decided to be served in proper intervals.
• The Trains and the Catering –
The Rajdhani Express, the Duronto Express and the Shatabdi Express are three most travelled and fastest trains in India. As the trains connect basically the whole of India, their importance in the railway system can never be equalled by any other category.
When IRCTC started practising the new catering policy, the menus for these trains were given prominence. The standard menus for these trains comprise of robust breakfasts, hearty Tiffin, proper lunch and dinners. The quality is maintained throughout and the most entertaining matter regarding the food is that passengers get to taste the local specialities of the region they are travelling at the time.
The Rajdhani and Duronto catering services have received warm appreciation from most quarters. All other prominent trains also enjoy proper catering services. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, according to the preference of the passengers are delivered in time.
• The New Age Catering –
Along with this catering service, IRCTC has made another happy introduction with e-catering services. With this service, IRCTC is no more in charge of delivering food to passengers. Different zones are now handling the entire catering operations through private service providers.
Private Service provider’s tie-up with local restaurants and caterers to deliver food to various zones.
Last year, around the month of September, the Ministry of Railway went for a trial of e-catering services. Six Delhi-Amritsar trains were chosen for the trial run. Passengers were given the choice of ordering food and cash on delivery was the method of payment. The trial went successfully and the ministry finally made the service available on pan India basis.
Now, many private players are coming up to serve the passengers through e-catering facility. The menu available is generally to be found on the website. The payment method can be cash on delivery or through credit card. Multi cuisine platters are also being made available. This simple step is fast becoming a very significant one in the history of Indian Railways as this is perhaps a new way of providing consumer satisfaction. By bringing private players into the equation, the service quality is not only to get better; consumers are going to have competitive prices to choose from as well. With this simple facility, IRCTC is changing the entire way we looked at eating in trains.
• The Jan Aahar Facility –
With the new developments and rounds of system changes, the future of the Jan Aahar stalls seems to change, as well. Started in 2010, the stalls recorded a similar fate of complaints and frustration. IRCTC’s new plans, however, are to improve the situation.
The catering services provided in Indian trains are reflecting the new ideas and demands of the generation. And, needless to say, this change is putting more freedom in the travellers’ hands.
Even Ordering food online in train is a better option, a Indian railway passenger can place their food in train by visiting www.travelkhana.com. TravelKhana is a leading food service provider through out Indian railway network.