Railway staff's disregard for passengers baffling

Updated: Jan 10, 2020, 07:44 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

It is inexplicable that staff on board ignored genuine complaints of the passengers. The railways need not serve delicacies, a simple wholesome meal, freshly made in a hygienic condition is more than enough

On Tuesday, 36 passengers of Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express complained of health problems after eating the rotten bread served to them for breakfast. A report in this paper quoted a passenger alleging that they had pointed out to the train staff that the bread was past its sell-by date but they continued to serve the stale food.

Left red-faced by the incident, the Indian Railways arranged for a doctor at Surat railway station where the affected people were given medical aid. The authorities also suspended the on-board supervisor of the train and sent a notice of termination to the contractor along with a penalty of Rs 2 lakh.

One is happy that the railways promptly initiated action into the incident. But it is baffling that the staff on the train, despite being warned by the passengers, continued to serve rotten bread.

Hygiene is supposed to always be the top priority in the catering business or restaurant industry. The same applies to the catering firms serving food on trains. Taking a lesson from the Shatabdi episode, the railways must ensure regular but surprise checks in the kitchen/pantry car.

This will keep the train staff, contractors or food suppliers in line. They will be wary of serving sub-standard food to the passengers. Laxity of any kind must be dealt with hefty penalty.

While we know uniforms for cooking staff, including caps and gloves are vital, the railways needs to make sure the rules are followed. The pantry car, where the already cooked food is reheated before being served, must also be inspected often for cleanliness. In fact, all spaces where food is stored on trains have to be spic-and-span.

It is inexplicable that staff on board ignored genuine complaints of the passengers. The railways need not serve delicacies, a simple wholesome meal, freshly made in a hygienic condition is more than enough.

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