Indian Railways launches no bill, free food policy! A new policy has been adopted by Indian Railways under which if no bill is provided for food and beverages purchased on trains, then you don’t have to pay for it!
Now onward, trains will display this message in order to protect railway passengers from overcharging. The move has been taken by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal so that the railway passengers do not have to pay higher cost from overcharging caterers. Also, passengers can ask for bills, in order to keep a record. Interestingly, most complaints under railway catering are related to overcharging, as in most of the trains, the food price is not included in the ticket fare.
The new policy will be displayed across all trains by March 31, where food is purchased by passengers during the journey. Also, to publicize this policy, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has started displaying this message on on its ticket-booking web portal. To ensure whether the new policy is functioning fairly or not, Indian Railways has deployed inspectors to check that every transaction is fair in terms of prices charged, and also a bill is issued to the customer.
According to Railway Ministry officials, a major cause is that the food servers do not provide bills to passengers, even when they ask for it. Also, the food servers or vendors come up with excuses like unavailability of bill book, the bill will be handed over towards the end of the journey, or they will hand over the bill once the food service time is over.
Last year between the month of April and October, there were over 7,000 overcharging complaints. The move has been taken, following Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s instruction, according to which strict action will taken against erring vendors or food servers, including cancellation of their licences if prices are not mentioned on food boxes. Last year, the contracts of two caterers were terminated by Indian Railways over overcharging complaints, also, many caterers were fined around 5,000 times, the report stated.