The 'achche din' promised by the NDA government has made a beginning at least in the much-needed railway pantry sector, with various departments of the national transporter trying to get their acts together. Close on the heels of the Central Railway authorities, calling a meeting with its pantry car operators to read them out a list of do's and don'ts, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has also got cracking on the job at hand.
In a first, it has tied up with the reputed Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology in Applied Nutrition, more famously called the Dadar Catering College, to enhance the skill-set of IRCTC catering staff deployed in premium trains like the Rajdhani and Duronto express.
The tie-up will see the institute creating a one-week skill management programme to give the staff an upgrade in food production and beverage service. The module will also include practical knowledge related to customer satisfaction, quality and hygiene.
These three facets of railway catering have been huge question marks for several years now and even the Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda in his budget speech alluded to the need to ensure that the food provided inside trains are priced as per the norms and have the quality intended by the railways.
Currently there are around 400 staff with IRCTC west zone who will be divided into batches of 20-25 to take part in the skill development programme, said IRCTc officials.
Earlier CR authorities led by general manager SK Sood had a meeting with pantry car operators to ensure that the food they serve inside trains is of the kind of quality the paying railway passenger expects. Apart from handheld terminals to give passengers print-outs of bills, emphasis was on the usage of mineral water for cooking inside the pantry till water-filter units are installed in all pantries. An elaborate mechanism to have the vegetables and the food grains used in pantries checked thoroughly was also discussed at the meet.