Chennai: While travelling from Chennai to Gorakhpur in Raptisagar Express, Vibhum Shukla was shocked to find a fly in the food served to him by the railway catering vendor. When he complained about the incident, the vendor just flicked off the fly and served the meal.
It’s not only Vibhum who experienced such irresponsible behaviour from railway catering staff. Many passengers who travel by train are served unhygienic food, putting their health at risk.
A. Chitra, felt a sharp jab on her tongue while munching on a cutlet served by the railway catering staff. She was taken aback to find a nail in the cutlet. She later registered a complaint demanding strict action.
Railways scoff at such passengers when they complain about the quality of food available on board trains. But with the latest CAG report tearing into the Railways on this aspect, passengers feel vindicated and ask the department to wake up to the reality. They want the Railways to improve the food quality.
The Railway Board redefined the duties of ticket examiners and assigned them the task of keeping a check on the food served to the passengers, but the Indian Railways Ticket Checking Staff Organisation (IRTCSO) has not brought any change in duties of its members.
“I bought egg rice while travelling to Kerala. The rice was stale and I could not eat it. I threw it and the vendors did not even respond to the complaint about the poor quality of food. The vendors even overcharge for the food and the complaints are not resolved,” says Abhishek Suresh.
“We cannot trust the railways in the matter of food quality. It is high time that railways take a quick look at such complaints and solve them. Such irresponsible attitude can cause serious health problems to the passengers,” he added.
Though the railway boasts of various catering policies, its frequent changing of catering policies has made it easy for unauthorised vendors to make good business.
Unauthorised vendors remain unchecked with various instances of rat-nibbled food and stale food being served coming to light very often.
Pratap Graham, a passenger using Chennai Central, says, “I have never been given a bill or receipt for the food bought from railway vendors. The printed menu cards are not provided.” When contacted, Railway officials said a new policy will be implemented soon by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to improve the quality of food being served to the passengers.
“The catering services will be unbundled and the new policy that aims at providing quality food will be implemented soon. New base kitchens will be set up at stations. IRCTC will engage service providers from hospitality industry for service of food,” the official added....