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IRCTC hands over catering service to ECR


PATNA: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation ( IRCTC) has finally handed over catering services to the East Central Railway ( ECR ) of passenger trains originating from all major stations under five divisions of the zone. It follows sudden change in the catering policy of the railway ministry. The IRCTC will now look after only e-ticketing and tourism in the railways.
According to Patna-based IRCTC regional manager A K Jha, the IRCTC had been providing catering services in about 22 pairs of passenger trains under the ECR. While the IRCTC is likely to hand over charge of catering services of the prestigious Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Garib Rath and Farakka Express in a week, it has already handed over catering charge of the rest of the passenger trains to the ECR s commercial department , he said.
Jha said that the IRCTC has already handed over to the ECR modular stalls located at Patna Junction, Mughalsarai , Gaya and other major stations of the ECR. Thus, the IRCTC has been completely stripped of catering responsibility by the railways, he said, adding the IRCTC has decided to launch its own ventures to make its presence felt in the corporate world.
The IRCTC regional manager told TOI that the Corporation has been functioning in Patna with the strength of about 150 staff who have been on deputation from other departments of the Indian Railways. Out of 150, 27 belong to supervisory and eight to executive cadre. Now the IRCTC will have to send most of the staff back to their parent department as it has virtually only tourism to look after in the ECR, Jha said.
He said that Rail Neer has a great potential for sale in the open market. During the past six years, it has carved its own niche in the competitive market as far as its quality and price are concerned.
The IRCTC has chalked out a comprehensive plan to promote tourism in Bihar. Apart from number of special tourist trains being introduced from time to time, the IRCTC has taken care of foreign tourists visiting Bihar and other Buddhist places, he said, adding the IRCTC would explore all possibilities of tourism through the railways to generate more revenue for the railways.
It may be recalled that the ministry had announced a new catering policy in July 2010 stripping the IRCTC of catering responsibility from all passenger trains and modular stalls. Earlier, the ambitious budget hotel project of the IRCTC was also shelved by the ministry for one reason or another, sources said.

Source - Times of  India

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