Zee Business campaign results in IRCTC taking action against offenders
When is the last time you checked the MRP/ rate card of a drinking water bottle or a veg/ non-veg thali ordered while traveling by an Express train?
While the food delivery service has been one of the convenient services provided by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), there have been instances when passengers were constantly being overcharged for purchasing food items or having unwanted items added to their menus on trains.
On being informed by passengers about such instances, the Zee Business team looked into this matter with an investigative lens, and initiated #MRPParDoKhana news reportage and awareness campaign.
Food was being sold from the pantry at more than the fixed rate of IRCTC. Ignorance in checking the MRP, has resulted in vendors taking undue advantage and overcharging passengers for food items. i.e. Passengers end up paying 50 Rs extra over and above the actual MRP. The sole purpose of Zee Business’ consumer-centric news story was to educate its viewers on the responsible initiatives that need to be taken, both by the consumers and IRCTC.
While the Zee Business team encouraged audiences to report any such overcharging instances by tweeting using the hashtag #MRPParDoKhana, it also alerted IRCTC to take immediate action. The official body also issued an order to vendors, asking them to stop the practice of overcharging immediately and avoid selling paneer mixed with food to justify the inflated prices. IRCTC wrote a letter to the Group General Managers of five zones, instructing them to take quick action against offenders and submit a report regarding the same at the earliest. It further threatened vendors with stopping the A la Carte system.
Taking cognisance of passengers' inconvenience, IRCTC will select trains on 10 routes for inspections, and surprise inspections of trains on crowded routes will be done.
The unfiltered news reportage and presentation of facts of Zee Business resulted in immediate changes that will be witnessed by passengers soon:
- Rate cards will be displayed at easily visible places in all coaches
- Bills for food items, and drinking water bottles will be provided to passengers to avoid being overcharged
- Staffers who supply food items to coaches will also be informed about rate cards of food items
- Passengers can complain about the quality and quantity of food items
- Seal of RailNeer bottles is mandatory
- IRCTC is setting up 4 new water plants
- New water plants will be set up to increase the supply
Highlighting the far-fetched impact of the investigative stance, Anil Singhvi, Managing Editor, Zee Business said, “Zee Business’ responsible journalism has been consistent in presenting factual details supporting consumer rights on timely basis. The news reportage on overcharging for purchasing food items or having unwanted items added to their menu on trains is just one of the many impactful examples of investigative journalism and consumer awareness campaign taken up by us. We look forward further engage with our viewers and stakeholders with the sole purpose of helping each one to take informed decisions on timely basis.”
(The Managing Editor also received a positive response to the poll for #MRPParDoKhana- to which 91.7% were in favour of paying for food items as per MRP)