In an effort to improve food quality at rail premises and help passengers lodge complaints against poor catering services, the Railways has decided to print a toll free helpline number behind train tickets.

Though Railways had launched the 10-digit helpline number (1800—111—321) in January, the response is so far tepid only.

“The number of complaints against catering service on an average is five to six per day. This is because of the less awareness about the operation of the toll-free number,” a senior Railway Ministry official.

“That is why it has been decided that all train tickets will have the toll-free number on the backside and the modalities are being worked out to change the software for it,” he said, adding, “This will help creating awareness about the ready availability of complaint mechanism.”

Besides, stickers with toll-free number will also be put on coaches as part of the awareness campaign.

The Railways has set up a central monitoring cell with the toll free number for the convenience of railway users to register their complaints regarding railways’ catering services like food quality, over charging both at railway stations and in running trains.

The facility is available all seven days from 7 am to 10 pm. Food is generally served to the passengers during this time.

According to the official, as soon as the complaint is registered, all possible action will be taken on real time basis to address that issue.

Follow-up actions are taken after receiving complaints or suggestions regarding catering service through the tollfree number, said the official.

Till date Railways has realised about Rs 5 lakh as penalty from caterers due to the complaints registered through the toll-free number.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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