The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has levied a hefty fine on a Tejas Express caterer.
The fine of Rs 1 lakh comes because the caterer served stale food aboard the train on Saturday, January 11.
The train was going from Karmali in Goa to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai. This is the second such instance in less than a week.
Bad pulao and roti
The caterer reportedly served the passengers dinner on Saturday after the train crossed the Chiplun railway station in Maharashtra.
The passengers immediately complained that the food was stale. Some even said they vomited as a result of the food.
A Hindustan Times report quoted a passenger as saying on condition of anonymity: “The food was stale and they continued to serve it, despite the issue being raised with the staff. Few passengers vomited after having dinner.”
The passengers would later say the caterer only offered to change the food packets. Reportedly, no one tried to get medical assistance to those who vomited.
The report quoted one Vilas Kelkar as saying: “As we were served dinner, we noticed the pulao and rotis smelled bad. We immediately informed the on-board staff but it was of no help. I felt uneasy and vomited after having the food. I requested for a doctor but none was provided.”
Tejas Express caterer fined
Kelkar added: “There were eight passengers who vomited. We will be taking up the issue with railway administration.”
The HT report quoted a senior IRCTC official as reacting to the incident thus: “It is true the pulao smelled bad as the food was packed while it was hot. There was no incident of passengers vomiting or asking for a doctor.”
However, that did not stop it from fining the caterer Rs 1 lakh.
Second incident in a week
The Tejas Express incident comes barely days after four women reportedly fell ill after consuming food served on Shatabdi Express.
An Indian Express report quoted railway sources as saying they were part of a larger group of 40 women travelling in coach number C-7 from Mumbai to Surat.
The women got a bread-and-butter breakfast before reaching Surat city, and four of them subsequently complained of unease. They then vomited, which led fellow-passengers to stop the train before it reached the Bhestan station.
Surat railway station director CR Garuda then looked into the case with doctors and nurses after the train reached there.
He said: “Four women were stable after being given medical treatment at the railway station. On the basis of their complaint, we collected samples and found fungus in the bread and butter supplied. We have made a report on the complaint and sent it to the senior divisional commercial manager in Mumbai division.”
He added: “The IRCTC looks after the catering in the trains and the contract was given to Sunshine Caterers. We have recommended heavy penalty.”