For many in the country, a trip on the long distance Rajdhani Express is remembered for the luxuries it offers. V P Durai, however, will be shuddering with disgust every time he thinks of the revolting culinary experience he had on board the train that is otherwise known for its multi-cuisine gourmet.
Durai, who works in the production department of a national television network, frequently goes to Delhi by train. On January 27, Durai and his colleagues boarded Rajdhani Express 12951 for Surat, the very next stop after it departed from Mumbai Central station at 4.40 pm. Durai and his colleagues were travelling in the 3AC compartment. Around 6.45 pm, an attendant from the pantry came and distributed a set of boxes to each traveller one with sandwiches and the other with sweets and assortments. “I opened the box to find a dead cockroach on the sandwich,” said Durai.
Needless to say, the sight of an insect didn’t go down well with the man. He showed it to his colleagues and other passengers. The bad packaging of sandwiches outraged others as well. Durai asked the pantry attendant to fetch the manager in-charge. While they waited, they clicked pictures of the bug on the sandwich using their cell phones. “The manager apologised and gave me a replacement, which I refused. If this is how the most elite train of Indian Railways serves, then what would be the plight of passengers on other trains?” asked Durai.
The co-passengers asked the manager to get the complaint book so they could register their complaint against the authorities. The pantry attendants then collected the sandwich from Durai to send it to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Ltd. Durai and his colleagues got off at Surat station around 7.35 pm.
The other side
IRCTC officials claimed that the bug was not inside. "The sandwich is wrapped with an air-tight wrapper and packed. the cockroach was found between the box and the wrapped sandwich, which could have come from the coach or while loading it inside the station,” said a senior IRCTC official. They have also issued a warning to the food supplier and levied a fine of Rs 3,000 on them.