No food bill, no payment: Indian Railways targets overcharging; IRCTC deploys inspectors to check erring caterers
To ensure that every transaction is fair in terms of prices charged, and a bill issued, even if it is as small an item as a cup of tea, IRCTC has also started deploying inspectors.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has taken a policy of "if no bill, your food is free”. This policy will prevent the train caterers from charging more than the price and will ensure that the passengers ask for bills. Overcharging forms the lion’s share of all complaints related to railway catering on a majority of mail/express trains where the price of food is not built into the ticket fare, reports Indian Express.
According to the report, by March 31, all trains where food is served on payment basis should have this policy in place. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started publicising this message on its ticket-booking website.To ensure that every transaction is fair in terms of prices charged, and a bill issued, even if it is as small an item as a cup of tea, IRCTC has also started deploying inspectors.
According to assessment by ministry officials, the bulk of the problem is because the food servers refuse to give a bill to passengers even when asked to do so, claiming various excuses such as there being no bill book, or that a bill would be provided at the end of the journey or they would give a bill only after the food service time was over, as per Indian Express report.
“We have readied 120 officials to man the trains and in some time we are going to put in place more people on inspection duty to gradually man every train during food service time. They will ensure proper service and billing,” M P Mall, chairman and managing director, IRCTC, told The Indian Express.
A little over 7,000 complaints of overcharging of food on trains has been registered between April and October last year. This policy follows Goyal’s instruction of strict action against erring vendors, including cancelling their licences if prices of food items are not printed on the boxes.
The report says that overcharging is the single biggest problem in train food business followed by complaints of quality. Last year, Railways terminated the contracts of two caterers over complaints of overcharging while various caterers were fined some 5,000 times.