Now you can call up from train to complain about food

Now you can call up a toll free number from anywhere in the country to complain about the quality of the food served on trains. Railways has pressed into service its nationwide, centralised call centre dedicated to food-related matters, which will attend to complaints in "real-time", which means immediately.

The number, 1800-111-321, will be operational all days between 7 am and 10 pm. The moment it receives any complaint from a passenger about food quality, quantity overcharging etc, it will contact the catering manager of the vendor on board the train to fix it during the course of the journey.

"We have also formed local squads to carry out surprise checks on trains for catering and cleanliness-related issues to see that the system is working perfectly," said Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Railways may also come up with its first food-testing laboratory so that complaints of quality and hygiene can be checked.

Railways has decided to extend the catering contracts of all vendors serving food on premium trains like Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and Durontos for another four months, during which the ministry will firm up new contracts to be awarded with revised guidelines. The new contracts will be for five years extendable for another five subject to performance.

As per the revised norms, the number of trains each catering company can serve may be reduced further and this time, every catering vendor will have to operate out of modern, state-of-the-art base kitchens from major stations. The aim is to come up with around 250 such base kitchens across India. The base kitchens might take a year to come up.

"We will provide the land at nominal rate of one rupee per square foot to set up the base kitchens, which is over and above the license fee we charge. Vendors will have to abide by a set of new standards for these kitchens," Bansal said.

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