The Central Railway (CR) has recorded almost 25 per cent increase in the fines imposed on pantry cars in 2017 as compared to last year. Overcharging and failure to maintain cleanliness in the pantry cars were cited to be the main reasons for levying the fine.
According to official records received from the railways, more than 100 cases were recorded each month where contractors were fined. Fines amounting to Rs 1 crore 67 lakhs were imposed till June this year as opposed to Rs 1 crore 35 lakhs for the entire 2016.
A fine ranging between Rs 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh was levied on erring parties. “We started to impose spot fines on erring parties and contractors who did not maintain the standard practice of cleanliness in pantries. We also received complaints from commuters against erring contractors who charged way beyond the state prices of the meals. We took action against them,” a senior CR official said.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report released last month pulled up the railways over improper standards of cleanliness and quality of food served in trains. The report also pointed at the CR receiving maximum complaints against catering staff in its trains.
“We always took corrective action against erring contractors. Since last month, we have initiated a drive to specifically charge heavy fines to parties who do not adhere to the guidelines. We have also cancelled the contract of a party against whom many complaints of overcharging were received,” the official added.
The CR has asked pantry contractors and food stalls at stations to undertake pest control and observe standard practices of maintaining hygiene.