Meeting of the Consultative Committee of Members of Parliament for the Ministry of Railways was held in New Delhi. The agenda of the Meeting covered 2 topics namely, Catering Services on Indian Railways, and Station Development on Indian Railways under Amrit Bharat Station Scheme.
- The meeting was chaired by Minister of Railways Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw and attended by several Members of Parliament.
- On the issue of catering services on Indian Railways, the members were informed that approximately 1.8 Crores passengers travel daily on Indian Railways and all efforts are being made to ensure provision and availability of adequate catering facilities in trains and stations for the travelling passengers.
- In the last few years, Railways has not only undertaken an in-depth analysis of catering services but also initiated structural reforms to bring in a paradigm shift in catering business.
- Catering services are provided to the travelling passengers either through Static units or Mobile units. There are 473 pairs of trains with pantry cars /mini pantries and 706 pairs of trains have a train side vending facility.
- There are 9342 minor and 582 Major Static units of Indian Railways which include Jan Aahaars outlets, Food Plazas and Refreshment Rooms. Indian Railways has a catering policy, with the objective of providing quality food to rail passengers by unbundling catering services of trains and creating a primary distinction between food preparation and food distribution.
- The Ministry has given IRCTC flexibility to customise and decide the menu of catering services in trains so as to include all items of regional cuisine, seasonal delicacies, and food items as per the preferences of different groups of passengers. The E-catering scheme has also been introduced on Indian railways.
- Cashless transaction facilities are provided on both Mobile and Static catering units. Third Party Audit of catering services is also undertaken to ensure quality and service standards. Regular and surprise inspections are conducted to monitor and supervise the catering services.
- On the station development subject, it was informed that upgradation/modernization of the station of Indian Railways is a continuous ongoing process. Three stations viz: Rani Kamlapati in the State of Madhya Pradesh, Gandhinagar in the State of Gujarat and Sir M. Visvesvaraya Railway Station in the State of Karnataka has been redeveloped/modernised so far.
- Based on the experience gained from these three stations, the Amrit Bharat Station scheme has been launched for development of stations on Indian Railways. This scheme envisages development of stations on a continuous basis with a long-term approach.
- It involves preparation of Master Plans and their implementation in phases to improve the amenities at the stations like improvement of station access, circulating areas, waiting halls, toils, lift/escalators necessary, cleanliness, free Wi-Fi, Kiosks for local products through schemes like ‘One Station One Product’, better passenger information systems, Executive Lounges, nominated spaces for business meetings, landscaping etc. keeping in view the necessity at each such station.
- The scheme also envisages improvement of building, integrating the station with both sides of the city, multimodal integration, amenities for Divyangjans, sustainable and environment friendly solutions, provision of ballastless tracks, ‘Roof Plazas’ as per necessity, phasing and feasibility and creation of city centres at the station in the long term. Presently, the scheme envisages to take-up 1275 stations for upgradation/modernization over Indian Railways.
- Hon’ble Members of Parliament gave certain valuable suggestions on both the subjects. The meeting ended with the Minister of Railways thanking all the members for their valuable inputs.
Source: PIB- Press Release | Image Credit (representational): MoR