Vikash Sharma

Cleanliness and good quality food are the key issues that always have remained a major concern for the passengers travelling in long-distance trains in the country. Of late, the Indian Railways has taken a slew of measures to focus on these aspects that remain a top priority for lakhs of train passengers.

Quality and hygienic food is served to passengers as per the prescribed norms and standards by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) by the Indian Railways.

In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighted the special measures taken by the Railways. Here are some of the major initiatives taken by Indian Railways to maintain cleanliness standards in trains and to bring noticeable improvement in catering services:

- Installation of bio-toilets in entire fleet of passenger carrying coaches.

- Cleaning of coaches including toilets being done at both ends including mechanized cleaning.

- On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS) has been provided in identified long distance Mail/Express trains for cleaning of coach toilets, doorways, aisles and passenger compartments.

- Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme has also been prescribed for limited mechanized cleaning attention to identified trains.

- Upgradation of Base Kitchen/Kitchen Units undertaken.

- CCTV Cameras have been installed in upgraded Base Kitchens /Kitchen Units for better monitoring of food preparation right at the source.

-Regular and surprise inspections are conducted by Railway/ IRCTC officials including Food Safety Officers. Deployment of on board IRCTC supervisors on trains.

- QR codes have been introduced on food packets enabling display of details like name of kitchen, date of packaging etc.

- Third Party Audit is done to examine hygiene and cleanliness in Pantry Cars and Kitchen Units. Customer satisfaction survey is also conducted.

(With PIB Inputs)