Unwilling to let the railways increase the prices of food served on trains by its licenced catering vendors,Railway Minister Mukul Roy has directed officials to make sure that food is served on a no-profit-no-loss basis.
Sources said the minister recently turned down a proposal to increase food prices by 15-25 per cent for ordinary mail/express trains (trains excluding the Rajdhanis,Shatabdis and Durontos where food prices are part of the fares) with a view to not burden the travelling public.
Prices of the standard menu including lunch,dinner,breakfast and evening snacks along with tea and coffe have not been revised since 2003.
The vendors have been clamouring for an increase in the rates citing inflationary pressure over the years. Many vendors had also been cautioning the ministry that at 2003 prices,retaining the prescribed quantity and the quality of the food was becoming unviable.
But the political leadership in the ministry has always been of the view that the margins for the vendors are taken care of by the sheer economy of scale in railway catering.
We are rebuilding the catering infrastructure on railways in accordance with the new catering policy announced in 2010,wherein the railways departmental catering will manage the affairs, Mukul Roy told The Indian Express. I have instructed railways to go for a no-profit-no-loss catering mechanism wherein passengers get food worth the entire amount they pay.