Railways plans airline-like food, modern kitchens

'High-in-quality-and-taste' food to be served from July, first on premium trains like Rajdhani, and then on all other trains.

Soon airline-like food would be on the plates of train passengers as the Railways has decided to initiate major reforms in its catering services under which it would "rationalise the menu" and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and CCTV cameras to flag irregularities in preparation.

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani on Friday said the "high-in-quality- and-taste" food would be served from July — first on premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto on an experimental basis and then on all other trains.

"The menu would be simple, could be in the form of a combo meal, comprising at best two to three items similar to what is served by airlines. High in quality and taste," he told media persons here.

The existing menu, he added, comprises six-seven items, but is often low on quality and also at times compromised on hygiene.

The public transporter has come under repeated criticism over the quality of food served. Last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report, had termed the food served at stations and trains "unfit for human consumption".

Under the new initiative, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), which manages catering on board trains, would engage managers and supervisors in all trains for random checking, alongside on premium trains, Lohani said.

The Railways provides 12 lakh meals per day, 10 lakh of which is served on board trains.

The IRCTC would be directly in charge of the 68 new modern-base kitchens coming up across the country. All the kitchens would be ready by December 2019, fitted with CCTV cameras for centralised monitoring, the officer said.

An Artificial Intelligence (AI) module is being installed at these base kitchens, he said to find anomalies through CCTV footage and raise issues for initiating actions.

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