Catering in stations will switch to cashless from August 1

Vendors will not be able to sell bottled water at stations for Rs 20 instead of the minimum retail price (MRP) of Rs 15. Similarly, rail passengers will not be charged more than Rs 15 for public food ( poori-sabzi).

The Railway Authority has decided to make cashless catering payment from August 1 at all stations across the country. In other words, sellers will now conduct the sale of catering digitally instead of cash. Failure to do so may result in a fine of Rs 10,000 to Rs 1,00,000.

The Board of Railways issued instructions in this regard to all zonal railways and the IRCTC on May 19. He mentions that all stalls, including catering on the platform, will sell the material digitally. Along with this, the railways will give out computerized bills to passengers. It is mandatory for vendors to have UPI, Paytm, Point of Sale (POS) machines and swipe machines for digital payment.

A senior Railway Board official said that apart from stalls, cashless transactions will be carried out in trolleys, food stalls, restaurants etc. Railways will impose a fine of ten thousand to one lakh rupees for not having digital payment system (POS etc.) or cash transaction with vendors.

He said that with the introduction of a cashless system at stations, vendors will not be able to charge rail passengers more than the fixed price. Apart from this, passengers will be able to complain in writing against the sale of substandard food, expired food packets, etc.

Currently, in the absence of digital payments and invoices, passengers cannot register their claims. With cashless payment, passengers will receive pure and fresh food at the right price. By one estimate, there are 30,000 stands and more carts at 7,000 stations, the official said. While 289 large IRCTC booths are at Janahar, Food Plaza-Restaurant and train stations.

The Board of Railways made digital payments mandatory for the sale of food on trains four years ago. There is a no invoice-no payment clause in this document. In its second phase, this system was implemented in stations.

Railway Catering Licensee Welfare Association chairman Ravindra Gupta called the Railway Board’s decision impractical. They claim that the system is successful from where the train is running, but not possible during the two to three minute stop at intermediate stations. The Internet network is weak in the remote stations.

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