Hyderabad: HC Raps Railway Authorities Over Spilled Food Being Repacked At Vizag Station
The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday, rapped railway authorities for neglecting cleanliness and hygiene in trains, said a report by The Times Of India. A bench comprising, Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice J Uma Devi made critical observations, while hearing the plea of a contractor running a canteen on platform 1 of Visakhapatnam Railway Station.
The case was filed after a video from the aforementioned railway station went viral. In this video, railway canteen vendors were caught on camera repacking the food into containers which was spilt on the ground. This repacked food would be later sold to the customers.
Several beggars clean the coaches and ask for money from the passengers, the bench said. Even the AC coaches are infested with rats and create a havoc. “Is the staff meant to keep these coaches clean not working at all?” the bench asked, as reported by the Times Of India.
The railway staff were caught without taking appropriate cleanliness measures like wearing gloves while packing the food. The video has been widely circulated on the social media leaving several horrified.
Imposition of penalty
According to a report by The Deccan Chronicle, railway officials had warned the stall licensee and instructed him to disengage the staff involved in this incident. A fine of Rs. 8000 was imposed on the stall. Later, the railway authorities increased the penalty up to Rs 1 Lakh and issued a notice to terminate the order.
The contractor filed a petition with the High Court and a single judge stayed the notice. He said that it amounted to a second punishment since penalty had already been imposed on the guilty. The bench also said the contractor could invoke arbitration clause and dismissed the writ petition of the contractor.
A report by The Newsminute said, later the general manager of East Coast railway filed an appeal in the High Court and the HC lashed out at him while refusing to grant him relief. The HC criticized the railway officials for their low standards of hygiene. Stating the conditions of the train toilets which was too bad to be described, the court also questioned the authorities as to what steps were taken in this case.
Indian Railways serving food unfit for consumption: CAG report
Previously, the Indian Railways was again in news for all the wrong reasons when a Comptroller and Auditor general audit (CAG) report on the catering services came up with the observation that food articles which were being served in the railways were unfit for consumption. Contaminated foodstuff, recycled foodstuff, packaged and bottled items past their shelf life and unauthorised brands of water bottles – were offered for sale at stations. The audit has found fault with frequent changes in catering policy of the railways which has led to a state of uncertainty in the management of catering services provided to the passengers. The catering plans have undergone through three changes since 2005; the latest one being that in February 2017.
Watch the video here:
The Logical Indian take
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is the world’s fourth-largest network which provides meals to about 11 lakhs passengers daily. The abysmal conditions of the service have been a point of botheration for the passengers for a long time. Filing RTIs have also not proved to be helpful in situations like these. Even though there have been initiatives by the Indian Railways of letting people know the right prices of the food, confusion and dissatisfaction continue.
The Logical Indian urges the Indian Railways to take this matter seriously and strive to provide better facilities for its customers.