At least 40 passengers fell ill on Wednesday, May 23, after having thePuri-Howrah Shatabdi Express breakfast.
This only adds to the food-related troubles for Indian Railways. India’s national rail company has been making efforts to serve a nutritious and hygienic spread to travellers.
The latest incident is sure to raise the hackles of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
This subsidiary of Indian Railways can be expected to come down heavily on the contractor responsible for the food in the train.
The problematic Shatabdi Express breakfast
The Shatabdi Express is one of the most elite fleets of trains of India, right up there with the Rajdhani Express. It is called Shatabdi — meaning century — because it was started on the birth centenary of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India.
Food served on the train is generally of the highest quality. However, that was not the case on the Shatabdi Express plying between Puri in Odisha and Kolkata’s twin city Howrah on Wednesday.
The breakfast, served at 7 am, seemed to have affected passengers in coaches C1 and C2. As they complained of nausea and abdominal pain, some even vomited. At least 14 of those affected were rushed to hospital when the train stopped at Kharagpur at 11:45 am.
‘Will take necessary steps’
Sanjoy Ghosh, chief public relations officer for South Eastern Railway, was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying that both the zone and the IRCTC would probe the incident.
He also said: “The food was supplied by IRCTC and it was loaded on the train at Puri. Some passengers fell ill after eating it. They are being treated at Kharagpur.”
K Rabin Kumar Reddy, divisional railway manager (DRM) of South-Eastern Railway’s Kharagpur division, said that samples of the food that had been served had been collected. He added: “We will take necessary steps.”
Reddy also said: “We will also inquire whether the vendor had collected the food from outside.”