Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Indian Railways must stop compulsory food service

It refers to Indian Railways announcing optional sweet dish of hot Gulab-Jamun in place of usual ice-cream in case passenger does not want to take ice-cream due to conditions like weather, liking, suitability etc. Move was aimed to prevent left-out packed ice-cream cups being kept by serving-staff. It is a usual practice that serving staff earns money by selling such unused packed food-items left by passengers to others desiring extra either at cost or by way of tips. But Indian Railways has not taken into account large number of diabetic passengers who will neither take Ice-cream nor Gulab-Jamun or any other sweet dish. Even many passengers do not take even food-trays as they avoid onion and garlic.

Already most airlines have replaced food-serving by selling variety of packaged food-items according to choice of passengers. Indian Railways should also stop practice of compulsorily charging food-cost in selected trains, and start selling packaged branded food by giving some sale-commission to serving-staff, eliminating begging tips by serving-staff. Scope of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) should be increased for manufacturing bakery-items and other such items by setting manufacturing-units in different parts of country. One-time planned investment will create huge employment-opportunities and increased revenue-earnings for Indian Railways. Rather IRCTC then can take charge of mid-day-meal in schools where complaints of inferior food and finding dead insects, rats, lizards etc are quite common.

Madhu Agrawal

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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