A report by CAG has said food at many railway stations is unfit for human consumption.
A report by India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has confirmed what many had doubted: that the food served on board Indian trains and at railway stations is unfit for human consumption.
The coffee is lousy, tea watery and less said about the food the better.
CAG’s annual audit report said checks on 80 trains and at 74 stations had found that some food items were stale and contaminated. Packaged and bottled items were well past their expiry date.
The CAG team found that food was stored in the open, attracting flies, rats and cockroaches. There have been various reports that rodents have now become part of rail journey and nightmare for many passengers. Bags containing food items are torn and the food items consumed by rats, especially in overnight trains.
The CAG finding is nothing new. For years rail commuters have been criticising the catering services for poor quality of food. The service providers are selected under a strange tender process where the person or firm quoting the lowest amount gets the contract.
Quite often, such service provider who gets the contract also serves the least quality food. So, no surprises.
Faced by mounting criticism, the Indian Railways announced a new catering policy in February. But this has hardly made any difference.
The report also said that cleanliness and hygiene were not being maintained at catering units at stations and in trains.
Reacting to the report, a twitter savvy railway ministry said on Friday that the new catering policy announced on 27 February would lead to quality food for rail passengers. The tweets also promised new kitchens and upgrades to existing ones.
It has to be seen if the railways walks the talk, rather walks the tweets.