New Delhi, Feb 26 : To improve catering services on trains, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal Tuesday announced setting up of state-of-the-art base kitchens and food testing labs.

"The widespread disappointment of the travelling public with the state of cleanliness and hygiene at stations, trains, bedrolls and catering has often been highlighted in this august House. As a frequent rail traveller, I have experienced this personally," Bansal said while presenting the annual budget of his ministry in Lok Sabha.

He said resource constraint can't be a reason for substandard services.

For effective quality control, Bansal said arrangements are being tied up with food testing laboratories in addition to third-party audit.

"State-of-the-art base kitchens are proposed to be set up in railway premises for better monitoring of quality of meals. ISO certification will now be insisted upon for all base kitchens."

The railway minister said a centralised catering services monitoring cell with a toll-free number, 1800 111 321, has started functioning from Jan 18 to facilitate redressal of complaints and suggestions on real-time basis.

As part of a green initiative, Bansal proposed to ban use of plastic in catering.


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