Most of the people of India who travel by the Indian railways, find the railway food a sad burden that has to be tolerated, especially on the trains where they have paid fare for the food. Un-hygienically prepared and served food on trains is the main cause of food-poisoning amongst the citizens. The precisely same situation exists on the platforms and stations, where again the customers are being fooled by the Indian railways. Let’s find out the reasons behind this horrid problem that we all are facing in our railways.
1) Corruption is at the top to bottom at every point in the food supply chain. From giving the contracts to the favourites and disabling the Indian railway catering department- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC), to interrupting the local menus in the name of standardisation, everything is done under the Indian railway department.
2) Hygiene and sanitation in pantry cars went downwards due to multiple reasons such as- Lack of adherence by Indian Railways to essential guidelines from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). They do not acknowledge any form of supervisory compliance over their catering services on Indian Railways property.
3) After so much of amendments in this sector, Indian railways continue to serve watery curries with the mixing up of non-vegetarian and vegetarian food.
4) In place of the standard menus on the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto class trains, we get a menu that is no longer a representative of anything other than a lack of thoughts and pieces of junk food. Also, some items such as single-serve corn flakes served with open milk, are made and then served with inferior quality ingredients that can cause you severe health issues like food poisoning.
5) The unconsumed or leftover food on the Indian Railways goes directly towards making the “Janata thaali box” or is sold to the passengers on the next following days.
How to fix this problem:
Passengers should carry their food from their homes like- ready to eat food items. More vendors should be allowed to provide food on the train platforms. Use of a kitchen or pantry car can be started on a railway station, for supplying food for trains passing through with scheduled stops. And also to provide healthy food for people waiting on the platforms. Local food can do miracles on railway trains if served correctly. Most of all, food will get better if Indian railways get back into the market of safe transportation from A to B, rather then trying to make additional money out of it.