Railways to provide diet food for diabetics, hypertensive
New Delhi, Nov 23 (UNI) Under fire from the local high court for its appalling catering services onboard running trains, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking of the Railway Ministry, today promised to provide better cuisines and laundry-fresh bedrolls to travelling passengers.
It also promised to provide water at a much cheaper rate as compared to 'Rail Neer', the in-house production of the Railways' water manufacturing plants.
For those suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, IRCTC said it would provide an assortment of soups, steamed rice, palak paratha, steamed chicken with boiled vegetables, poached fish and green vegetables.
IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal, addressing a press conference here today, said water vending machines, equipped with reverse osmosis (RO) facility, would be set up at major stations by private companies like Ion Exchange India Ltd, Eureka Forbes and Ken-RO.
''If a passenger carries one litre bottle with him, he can fill it up from a water vending machine for just Rs three while 'Rail Neer' of the same quantity is priced at Rs 10. Similarly, a normal glass can be filled by inserting a two-rupee coin in the vending machine,'' he said.
Tenders for installing 236 water vending machines would be floated next month, he said, adding that it would be a great convenience for the passengers.
For improving the quality of food, he said tenders for setting up 59 base kitchens on the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model would be invited soon.
''We are going to hire professional consultants in this regard.
We are also planning to set up 'cell kitchens' at important stations which will ensure uniformity in the quality of food items for passengers.'' Mr Goyal said 36 food plazas had so far been set up while tenders for another 50 such plazas would be invited in next five months.
''Our plan is to set up at least 100 food plazas all over the country to provide quality food items to passengers,'' he added.
In Rajdhanis and Shatabdis, cyclic menus have been introduced, and plans are afoot to provide similar facilities in some other important long distance trains.
He said the entire catering system would take 8-9 months for its overhauling. ''We promise to introduce a paradigm shift in catering services.'' Further, mechanised laundrette will be installed at important stations to improve the quality of bedrolls while the cleaning of coaches during a train's journey has already been introduced in 12 pairs of trains.
To cap it all, he said round-the-clock control offices for redressing the grievances of passengers would be set up at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Secunderabad.
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