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Good food from railways soon

Special Correspondent

‘Jan Aahaar' counters to be opened in large numbers


‘Passenger services in four southern States much better than other States'

Railways plans new and improved portal for reservations


HYDERABAD: For all those who have cursed their fate every time they ate railway food on board a train, there's good news if one to go by the words of popular quizmaster and Chairman of the Indian Railways Passenger Services Committee, Derek O'Brien.

This is because the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), that handles catering will soon be stripped of the portfolio in tune with the new catering policy announced by Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee.

The railways wanted to increase ‘Jan Aahaar' counters in as many stations as possible to make affordable and quality food available to passengers from the lower sections of society, he said, adding that it was a policy decision to consider economic viability coupled with social responsibility.

The 7-member committee headed by Mr. Brien was in the city to inspect various passenger services on South Central Railway here. Interacting with the media, Mr. O' Brien said that, by and large, passenger services in the four southern States were much better when compared to other States covered by the other zones of the Indian Railways, whether it was cleanliness, catering or maintenance of the stations, he said.

Currently, on-board house-keeping services were available in 270 superfast and express trains and by this year-end it would to introduced in 350 trains, he added.

New portal

This is not all, in tune with a new-found, passenger-friendly mode that the Railways is getting into, plans are on to have a new and improved internet portal for reservations. Currently, reservations can be made on www.irctc.gov.in, while www.indianrail.gov.in gives information about trains and availability of seats/berths.

He said the new portal would probably be named www.indianrailways.gov.in or www.raildost.gov.in .

The decision on coming up with a more efficient portal was primarily taken due to the fact that 56.5 per cent of all bookings today were being made on the internet, he stated.

‘Seva Vaahan'

Mr. Brien said the Railways was also working at having ‘Seva Vaahan' carts for the physically challenged apart from trolleys to be used by passengers and porters.

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