The body of railway caterers has raised objections on promotion of outsourcing by IRCTC
GN Bureau | January 21, 2017
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) – a body of representatives and associations of railway caterers – has asserted that its suggestions should be considered by the railways for a new catering policy, whose draft has been unveiled.
The alliance has raised objections on increase in outsourcing by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
The body, which praised the railways for coming up with New Draft Catering Policy-2016, has suggested to promote catering on ‘no loss no profit’ basis. It highlighted that though the new draft policy envisages improvement of quality of food, it misses the core objectives set by the parliamentary committees on railway catering and passenger amenities. The railways should keep affordability for the poor passengers in mind while providing high quality food, it underlined.
The NAPM said that railways will have to strike a balance between setting up of sophisticated food plaza, food courts and small static eatery units. The decentralised service of food at cheaper rates by the static stalls can’t be matched with the huge food outlets as the latter does not offer cheaper food. “Static stalls should not be handed to IRCTC,” it demanded.
The caterers’ body further said that IRCTC should not bring in big players for catering services. “The outsourcing issue is not opposed in the new catering policy which indeed is unfortunate. The need for ‘e-catering’ and ‘on road services’ by IRCTC may be a demand from elite class passengers but a large chunk of common commuters are not likely to opt for the same. Service of food in trains indicates open outsourcing and exhibits the limitations and diffidence of IRCTC, which are known and experienced since 2005,” it pointed out.
The NAPM held the IRCTC responsible for encouraging privatisation in catering and rendering many old caterers associated with the railways jobless. “This happened due to lack of knowledge, capacities and experience of IRCTC that led to monopolisation (with Benami units & otherwise) as well as corruption,” the alliance highlighted.
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