GUWAHATI, Aug 28 - Indian Railways has taken up certain schemes, including provision of digital payment facilities, price tagging of food items and installation of CCTVs at kitchens, as part of the effort to monitor quality of meals being served to passengers as well as to make the delivery of meals and their payment hassle-free.
Officials told this newspaper that provision of digital payment for meals has also been started in 34 static units and 27 trains in the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone.
�Under this system, customers and passengers can pay for their meals through credit and debit cards, Pay Tm and apps like BHIM instead of cash. This allows us not only to promote the government�s concept of expanding digital transactions but also facilitates greater transparency as customers cannot be fleeced by unscrupulous elements,� Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer of NFR, said.
NFR is planning to expand the digital payment model for catering services in all trains operated by the zone as well as static units by March 2019.
A slogan �No bill - Food is free� has also been printed on tickets all over the zone to sensitise the commuters and the general public about the need for asking for proper bill against payment for meals.
The issue of overcharging for meals has been a frequent complaint by railway passengers.
To deal with the problem, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started price tagging of all meals available aboard trains and static units in stations.
�There are over 680 static catering units in the NFR zone. Work has been carried out to ensure that price tagging and prominent display of rate chart are done in all such units,� said Sharma.
Checks have been carried out across the NFR zone in recent months to see if catering units are adhering to prescribed rules. A number of vendors have been penalised for flouting norms, including for not providing adequate quantity of any particular food item as against the price charged.
Work is also on to install CCTVs in base kitchens across the zone and all eight base kitchens across NFR will have CCTVs soon.
Live feed from the base kitchens will be available in divisional commercial control rooms for constant monitoring to facilitate officials to monitor compliance with adherence to basic hygiene standards.
CCTVs have also been installed in four food plaza stalls and three fast food units.
Almost half of the 26 fixed catering units have so far been fitted with CCTVs, Sharma added.