Our Prime Minister is hell bent on giving us ‘acche din’. While the introduction of new trains, with “world class” facilities has certainly helped his motive of the betterment of Indian Railways, they never fail to live up (rather, down) to our expectations.
A passenger of Shatabdi Express, travelling from Malda to Howrah, claimed that he found a spider in the curd that he was served during his journey. He talked to the railway officials and explained the whole situation to them, and what he got in return was tremendous disappointment. Do you know why? Why, because the officials refused to take him seriously.
They even declined to give him a fresh pack of food and replace the contaminated one.
Earlier this year, two passengers were served their breakfasts with cockroaches. (While this wouldn’t have been an issue, had insects been a snack for us, but, eating them is mostly frowned upon in this country.) Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) were fined for Rs. 1 lakh because a cockroach was found in the food in the Kolkata Rajdhani Express.
Indian Railways is one of the world’s largest railway networks. More than 22 million people travel in it, in one day. Then what possibly could be the reason for such negligence in terms of basic hygiene of food, I wonder.
If you have ever entered the pantry van of a train, it might be easier for you to understand the standards of cleanliness and food quality. It looks dirtier than a public toilet. You would not be able to fathom the very existence of the people who work in those dingy kitchens. (Not all trains are the same? You don’t say)
While some trains just collaborate with restaurants and hotels for quality food, the fact that they are then stored in a coach where mice have the supreme reign, and the breeding of cockroaches is very common, says a lot about the final food that is served to the customer. It is sometimes expired, and most of the times substandard. All the helplines or the toll free numbers either do not work or are already dead.
Even after all of this, our capitalist, populated society is more concerned about quantity over quality.
While rumours are rife that Modi is all set to privatize the Railways, we cannot say anything for sure. But, would that help improve the quality of food?
Tell us what you think about this in the comments!
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.