InfrastructurePolitics

Meals on wheels: IRCTC

Introduction:

If you happen to be an Indian, then you must have traveled in the Indian Railway. Presently, the Indian is considered to boast the largest railway network in the world. Millions of passengers travel every day in different trains across the country. The Railway coaches provide proper bedding, clean toilets, and meal. However, the meal has been the most controversial thing in their offerings. Nobody seems to like the quality. This fact is more clear when you see people bringing their own food in the AC coaches that already provides meals to the passenger.

Why they are pathetic:

The Indian Railway has been notorious in cost cutting. In the past, they used to serve soup in proper flasks but now they only give thermocol cups. The quality of the food was never great, but in the past, they at least served it warm. However, today in most of the train you cannot expect a warm and nice meal. Everything seems dated and not fresh. IRCTC charges a lot for their regular meals but they always failed to offer the value out of their meals. Plus, many people have reported hygiene issues with their meals. In fact, some people found their meal infested with bugs and flies. That is totally unacceptable considering the greatness of Indian Railway. Even the roadside hawker sells better value and hygienic food than IRCTC.  In the western countries, they have trains with separate buffet car, where you can go and dine with ease.

While in India only a few new selected trains have got that convenience. Only the first class coach of the Indian Railways serves some decent food in their coaches. There you will get your food nice and warm served in decent cutlery. On the other than, rest of the classes remains with pathetic food and service. This problem becomes more unfair when while leaving the train the staff asks you for a tip for their service. And our mind goes like, what service? Even the local Bhandara (food distribution) in the Gurdwara serves better food at zero cost.

Conclusion:

Indian Railways have seen many ministers but none have really resolved this problem. The staff is getting more corrupt day by day with their trickery. They often resale the products left by the passengers on the train. If some private restaurant chains were allowed on the train, then the situations could have been better. Just like a food court, there would have been more competition to provide the best food to the customer. But sadly IRCTC holds a complete monopoly over this sector and no one is expected to replace this in the near future. People have protested against this but Government always remained dumb to their appeal.

No doubt, the Railway is making a huge profit by charging more than the value of their food. The department remains more corrupt and backward till date. You might have noticed the same thing in the IRCTC canteens. They are not clean and don’t serve hygienic food. While if it been some private vendor then the case would have been completely opposite. We need regular health inspections in the catering department of Railway.

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