Patna : Though  it has changed  catering policy putting  more stress on quality  of food, an ambitious  plan of railways  to replace all existing pantry cars with air conditioned ( AC ) pantry cars  phasewise  is still hanging in balance . The condition of pantry cars in most of the trains  continues to be  deplorable.

According to a Railway Board official , a proposal to this effect has been pending with the Board. The  AC pantry cars are the need of the hour for serving quality food to the passengers  as per their choice, he said adding the Board  is considering all aspects of the proposed plan.

According to sources, railways  had earlier announced to introduce AC pantry cars  in all mail and express trains replacing old and damaged pantry cars  on the  pattern of  Rajdhani Express and  Shatabdi Express  pantry cars.  About 400 odd  pantry cars are  in service these days across the country. During the recent survey carried out by railways it was found that about  30  per cent of pantry cars were in  deplorable  condition , sources said  adding  use of  boilers in pantry cars  normally affects the stored food stuff and its quality.

A Board official said   that  railways  has  already  decided  to do away with  LPG cylinder system in pantry cars . Cases of  unnatural fire were  reported in the past in these conventional pantry cars hence railways has decided  to introduce ‘induction  heating  system’  in each pantry car as  in the Rajdhani Express pantry cars . While there is no risk to life, food quality has been up to the mark also, he said.

According to sources , the railway ministry has been considering a  proposal  to introduce trolley system in all mail and express trains  on the pattern of aeroplanes so that food or breakfast  could be easily served to passengers on running trains.  Railways  has  already decided  to ensure smokeless cooking at each major station  falling under East Central Railway ( ECR  ) in Bihar and other zones of railways  from safety and food quality point of view, sources said.

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