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Problems and solutions for better food on trains

It is said that the food served in the canteen of the Indian Parliament is of supreme quality. Most of us normal citizens can’t actually testify to that, but is has been reported to be so in many instances. Moreover the catering done in the canteen is by the Indian Railway. This is quite ironic as the food we get in the trains and the stations are often complained to be of very poor quality. The food served on the trains seems more of a burden than a facility, mostly where the charge of the food is included in the fare of the train ticket.

Many instances of food poisoning due to the unhygienic food on the train are also observed. Though this might be quite rare yet still the train food service is quite terrible. Nowadays the government is implementing more and more steps to better the condition of food available to the passengers. But before they make any changes they need to address the problems which are causing such results. One of the main reasons for this is the employment of untrained people who are most often ill-motivated and also underpaid.

Here are a few reasons why the quality of food is so degraded in trains and train stations:

  1. Like any other organisation in India, the Indian railway is also filled with corrupted officials. Corruption is present from the top to bottom. When corrupt people are present on high positions, there is very little that we can do. If somehow the corruption can be removed or at least reduced, then a lot of better changes can be brought in.
  2. The sanitation and hygiene in the pantry cars are often not maintained properly. People don’t adhere to the guidelines put down by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India usually. The workers cook food without complying with any of the regulatory measures to maintain proper hygiene of the food.
  3. As the workers are untrained or undertrained they are bound to make mistakes. A mistake that is made is the mixing up of the red and green dot regulation. This resulted in a total mess where the entire vegetarian and the non-vegetarian meals were mixed up.
  4. Serving unpacked food is extremely unhygienic, yet the railway employees constantly do the same. In many trains boiled eggs are provided in their shells, while others provide entirely cooked eggs for an increased charge which have no guarantee of being hygienic. Open milk is also served which is no better.

Many other reasons contribute to the overall degraded quality of food on trains. But with a few steps they can be made better. Here are a few possible solutions to this problem.

  • Due to the degraded quality of the food, people should prefer bringing their own food while travelling on trains if possible. The pantry cars should be able to provide hot water for coffee, tea and noodles.
  • Having more vendors would mean more competition which would result in better quality and reasonable prices.
  • The pantry cars should be made static, so that they can serve many trains which are nearby and also to the people waiting in the platforms.

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