Around 26 passengers travelling by Tejas Express on 15 October, were affected by food poisoning after they ate breakfast served on board. They had been hospitalised in Chiplun, about 260 kms from Mumbai.
The passengers have been discharged from the hospitals on 16 October, according to official reports from the Konkan Railways.
The Tejas Express runs between Mumbai and Goa, is India’s first semi-high speed train, and was inaugurated with great fanfare in May this year.
On 15 October, passengers travelling in three to four different coaches of the fully air-conditioned luxury train fell ill and complained of nausea, uneasiness and vomiting after they consumed breakfast and soup served on the train, soon after it left its starting station Karmali in Goa.
The Konkan Railways (KR) stopped at Chiplun at around 3:15 pm after the control room received an alert around 3 pm.
All the necessary arrangements were made by the Railway authorities. 25 passengers had been admitted to the Lifecare hospital of Chiplun, and one six-year-old was admitted at Sane Hospital for pediatric treatment, LK Verma, chief spokesperson of KR reportedly said.
IRCTC has ordered an inquiry into the incident. It has also collected food samples including the sachets of the soup for testing and inspected the base kitchen of the contractor.
A show-cause notice had been served on the catering contractor and two officials – on-board manager and a Madgaon-based area officer – have been suspended, said IRCTC spokesperson. The group general manager IRCTC had preceded to Chiplun for coordination at the hospital for all arrangements.
The Logical Indian Take
The Comptroller and the Auditor General Report that was tabled in the Parliament on 21 July came up with the observation that food articles unsuitable for human 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 Report also found out that the Indian Railways have been failing to meet its standards of providing clean linen and blankets to its passengers.
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.
We urge the Indian Railways to take this matter seriously and strive to provide better facilities for its customers.