Chennai: Tiny room with tables occupied by flies feeding on spilt and dried food, soiled plates and murky drinking water – this is how the canteens for drivers and conductors at Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus depots look like.
Canteens at Chrompet, Ennore, Thiruvottriyur, Tondiarpet, KK Nagar, T Nagar, Ambattur, Central depot and majority of them in North Madras are in a bad shape.
“Initially, 600 gram of rice was served for all workers and there was more choice of food. Now, the quantity and quality of rice are not proper as there are no measuring cups and the canteen workers serve according to their wish,” rued K. Anbazhagan, joint secretary, Nethaji Transport Union.
He added that none of the canteens provides glasses and the workers get their own plastic bottle to fill water.
While some depots are equipped with metro water facility, some provide bore water. Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems do not work in bus stops and they literally drink murky and unhealthy water.
Bus drivers also allege that Pallavan House bus depot has all the facilities as all the officials, including managing director have their lunch in the place.
“They only charge one rupee per day for food, but that unhygienic meal and surroundings might cause many diseases which will both take a toll on our health and pockets. Neither does the department give us salaries nor food,” said one of the conductors at the T Nagar bus depot.
When DC questioned an official in T Nagar, he said, about 100 people eat in the depot every day and they clean the room twice. Workers in an inebriated condition, staying in the room at the depot pose a menace during lunch and spill the food.
“Authorities from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India inspected the food on Sunday and did not inform us about anything yet,” he said.
Moreover, an official from MTC said, following numerous complaints from drivers and conductors, they issued a notice to the canteens last week asking them to provide only water can or RO water to the workers. “We will form a committee this week and conduct raids from the coming Monday,” he said....