Railways has given catering responsibility of 23 more trains to IRCTC as part of its efforts to bring the management of food supply services on trains under the national transporter’s PSU.
With this addition, the number on trains on which IRCTC manages catering services has risen to 115. The IRCTC already provides catering services on 65 express trains, six Rajdhanis, 13 Duronto, six Shatabdi and two Suvidha trains.
“As we take up more responsibilities, we are proud of the confidence the Railways has in the quality and efficiency of the catering provided by the IRCTC. Our goal will be to continue to improve the services for the passengers,” said IRCTC Chairman and Managing Direction AK Manocha.
Currently, about 92 trains are out of IRCTC responsibility.
According to IRCTC “Of these 29 trains are served by the department and 63 through licensees.”
The newly added trains include Purushottam Express, Patna-Ranchi Jan Shatabdi, Kalka Mail, Bhrahmaputra Mail, Licchawi Express, Bangalore City-Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express and Bangalore City-Chennai Shatabdi.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced in the Budget for 2016-17 that IRCTC would manage catering services in a phased manner. He also said that the IRCTC would unbundle catering services by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution.
An announcement on the unbundling will be made soon with plans to streamline catering operations by setting up base kitchens across the country and assigning separate agencies to prepare and distribute the food.
IRCTC will also manage catering on all new trains and trains introduced on short notice or otherwise and trains whose existing catering contracts have been terminated or surrendered.
Expanding the business, IRCTC is planning to construct budget hotels at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Sawantwadi near Goa on PPP model. It has already invited expression of interest for the projects.
Manocha said “We are also planning to construct a Rail Neer plant in Hapur in Uttar Pradesh with a capacity of 1 lakh litres per day. The plant, aimed at serving Agra, Muradabad, Izzatnagar and Delhi division, is expected to be operational in the next one and a half years.”
There are six Rail Neer plants currently operational in Delhi, Patna, Chennai, Amethi, Mumbai and Trivandrum, with a combined capacity of 7 lakh litres per day. A seventh one at Bilaspur will be open in the next 2-3 months.