BHUBANESWAR: Rajdhani Express, one of the country’s fastest and luxurious trains, is back in news for the wrong reasons. Under wrath of the passengers for running late for the last few months, the train brought on Friday bad name for serving substandard and stale food on board.
Aggrieved over the harassment by the catering staff, a group of passengers detained the 22824 UP New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express at Tata Nagar for about one hour in protest against the licensee for providing stale food during lunch and threatening for the complaint.
The passengers of B5 coach of the train first protested after they were served stale food for lunch, leading to vomiting by a few of them. Claiming that the food served was stale and the food packets were smelling foul, they lodged a complaint with the IRCTC authorities of South Central Zone and demanded compensation.
“They were supposed to give us breakfast at 7 am and lunch at 12 noon. But they served the breakfast at 10 am and the lunch at 3 pm. The food was not at all fit for consumption. Some children and old people who had the food complained of stomach upset and vomiting,” said Smita Behera, a passenger who was travelling with her family.
Other passengers claimed that the catering people served the leftover of Thursday night. The train, which was supposed to leave New Delhi at 5 pm, was delayed by more than five hours. “The catering people did not give us dinner on time and by the time they served food, many passengers had already slept. We were expecting good food on Friday. But they served us stale paratha, rice and paneer dipped in tomato soup. When we questioned about the quality, the catering manager threatened us with dire consequences,” alleged Harish Chandra Pradhan, another passenger.
The passengers gave the food to the on board manager of IRCTC Shakti Nanda and RPF personnel to taste and they too admitted the fact. The train was, however, allowed to move after the officials wrote about the food quality on the complaint lodged by the passengers and a senior railway official assured of cancelling the tender of the licensee.
“How can we dream about bullet trains when the Railways fail to provide basic things like quality food in our top class trains? Now most of the trains are running late.
We lost `10,000 as we could not board the link train to Mount Abu due to late arrival of Duronto Express in which we travelled to New Delhi. The railway officials did not even bother,” alleged Behera.
Contacted, Regional Manager of IRCTC Sudipta Mukherjee admitted that the food served on board Rajdhani Express was not up to the mark.
“The licensee has been warned about it and he has assured not to repeat. The passengers did not like the food and it was served late because the train was delayed due to storm in Delhi,” he added.