Mumbai: In the third such incident within the last seven days, passengers on another long distance train complained about being served stale food last Saturday.
A family travelling on the Jan Shatabdi Express were served fungus-infected bread, on their way to Chiplun from Thane. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said it has taken cognisance of passenger complaints and ordered a probe.
On January 11, Vivekanand Gupta, an advocate, was travelling to Chiplun with his family. While they were carrying snacks like poha and upma from home, they decided to buy something on the go.
“The food we were carrying had become dry, so we decided to buy bread cutlet on the train.
The minute we opened the pack, we saw it had fungus on it, By then, the vendor had moved on to another compartment. So we waited for him to return,” said Gupta.
“There was a ticket checker in the compartment, whom we spoke with and he suggested we complain to the pantry manager. But the manager failed to turn up.
Later, the vendor from whom we had purchased the bread returned to our compartment and we showed him the state of the bread. He took back the item and offered a replacement but we were decided against it. He refunded our money,” Gupta said.
When asked about this incident, Rahul Himalayan, general manager, western zone, IRCTC, said: “We have taken cognisance of passenger complaints and ordered a probe. We have also issued showcause notice to the caterer for termination of his contract and slapped them with a fine of Rs 1 lakh.”
That same night, on Tejas Express, passengers were given dinner boxes near Chiplun and according to sources the quality of the vegetable pulao was substandard and passengers refused to eat it, saying it smelt odd and complained to the on-board catering staff.
According to IRCTC officials however, there was no case of vomiting reported but several passengers did not eat the food.
Last week, the IRCTC suspended its on-board catering supervisor and served a termination notice to the authorised caterer of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express, after 40 passengers were sickened by the stale bread and butter provided to them for breakfast last Tuesday.
Senior railway officials have directed all their authorised caterers to ensure that there is no compromise on the quality of food on outstation trains.