For the railways,the problem of stink is not confined only to the tracks. Even the food served on trains of Central Railway (CR) stinks literally as more than 60 passengers on board a Shatabdi Express that runs between Secunderabad and Pune found out on Sunday evening. The passengers complained that the food not only smelled bad,but some of it was half-cooked.
Describing the dinner served to them as inedible,passengers complained of stomache soon after they had a few bites. The moment I opened the food packet,I had to turn my face away due to the smell. The paneer was rank,the rice half-cooked and dal watery, said Rajinder Kumar Anand,a business from Vimannagar who had boarded the train at Solapur at 8.20 pm on Sunday. Anand said at least 60 passengers in the C-2 chair car coach returned their food packets,some did not touch it while some only had a couple of bites.
Prasad Puli,a resident of Pimpri,said,The rice seemed uncooked and the matar paneer smelt bad. Even the chapatis were bad. Puli said several passengers complained of stomache after eating it. We were told that the food packets were not checked before they were loaded at Gulbarga.
Maheedher Tenali,a resident of Shashtrinagar,said,I could eat only a couple of spoonsful. The smell from the packet was terrible. Tenali had boarded the train at Secunderabad. The curry (matar paneer) had gone bad and the rice was half-cooked.
When passengers created a ruckus,they were served an apple,a banana and a pack of fruit juice at Daund station. After paying Rs 500 for the ticket and being promised quality food,we get only fruits, said Anand.
There was no support from the catering manager on board. Even senior officials did not respond to our calls properly, said Tenali.
Anand said he had travelled by the same train five months ago and encountered the same quality of food. I had lodged a complaint then too,but it seems railways are not bothered, he said,adding that the food packets loaded at Wadi in the past were at least better than the ones current being loaded at Gulbarga.
CR spokesperson Y K Singh said he had received the complaint from passengers,but the catering service is looked after by IRCTC.
R S Tayde,catering service senior executive,said he had forwarded the complaint to the head offices in Mumbai and Delhi. I was present at the Pune station when the train arrived half-an-hour late. The food packets are loaded at Gulbarga as this train does not have a pantry car.
IRCTC joint general manager Ajit Kumar said they have decided to impose heavy penalty on the food contractor. However,he refused to specify the amount of fine.