Days after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report was submitted to the Parliament on July 21, 2017, regarding the substandard food being served on trains in India, another case has emerged. A dead lizard was found in a meal of passenger who was travelling in Poorva Express on July 25, 2017.
CAG carried out an inspection in collaboration with officials of the Indian Railways between July and October 2016 which covered 74 stations and 80 trains. The quality of the food was found to be unfit for human consumption as the country's top audit body (CAG) came across grave deficiencies in the food hygiene.
CAG observed, "Food stuff served was less than the prescribed quantity, unapproved packaged drinking water was sold. Articles unsuitable for human consumption, contaminated foodstuff, recycled foodstuff, shelf life expired packaged and bottled items, unauthorised brands of water bottles, etc., were offered for sale on stations."
Apparently, the railway pantry has been home to rats, cockroaches, lizards and other insects. While numerous discrepancies were noticed on various trains, premier trains like Duronto were storing 100 unsold 'parathas' for reuse and recycling.
Have a look at what Indian railways have been serving.
A group of pilgrims travelling in Poorva Express from Jharkhand to Uttar Pradesh spotted something disgusting in the vegetable biryani. After consuming, one person fell ill when the train was about to reach Patna. As soon as they realised what were they eating, a staffer threw the meal out of the train. A complaint was registered with the pantry car attendant and the ticket examiner but it drew no response.
The impact of the tweet fetched an immediate action. When the train entered Mughalsarai station in UP, railway officials attended the passengers while proper medical care was given to the one fallen ill.
A senior railway officer at Mughalsarai, Kishore Kumar said, "Before the train arrived here, doctors inquired about their health and also prescribed medicine. We will investigate and take strong action."
The passenger was travelling from Mumbai in 22209 NDLS Duronto Express on July 17, 2015, when he found something wrong with the rice served by the railway pantry. Two cockroaches were found in rice.
When the case was reported, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) official defended the act and said he checks the food and informs the competent authorities about what needs to be done.
A frequent traveller of Rajdhani Express boarded the train from Delhi on September 19, 2014. The 65-year old ordered a vegetarian meal but to his horror, he realised that he was chewing bones which were present in the curry.
Reportedly, Railways imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the caterer, Brindavan Food.
In a similar incident, a cockroach was found in soup in Goa Express. Satyam Caterer was fined Rs 1 lakh for the incident, the official said.
This incident dates back to July 23, 2014. The IRCTC imposed fine on people who were responsible for the goof-up.
However, there have been innumerable cases where the railway passengers were disappointed with the quality of food they were served.
As per reports, catering services will be handed over to IRCTC. This will take place by the year end in order to improve the quality of food served to train passengers.