New Delhi: Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi has said the whole system including Parliament is to be blamed for filthy catering services in the Indian Railways. "If you ask me you have to hold the entire Parliament guilty. This is absolutely pathetic. I must compliment Marya Shakil and CNN-IBN to have highlighted these points. This is in modern times highly unacceptable. But having said that let me tell you, you will not even be able to sack the particular caterer, you will not be able to do anything, you will not be able to hold any officer accountable because the whole system is rotten," Trivedi said.
In a shocking revelation about the pathetic condition of catering services in Indian Railways, CNN-IBN has accessed a railways report that exposes how food is prepared in filthy conditions. The report says that the food served in trains is cooked in dirty, smelly and waterlogged pantry cars.
This stands true even for premier express trains. The report says that cockroaches were all around the GT Express pantry car. In the Shramjivi Express, the water used for washing coaches was also used for cooking and in the Bihar Sampark Kranti, samosas were found kept in a dirty basket along with mops.
For many travelling on trains, the quality of food leaves much to be desired. But now the railway board's own inspection report shows just how sub-standard it really is.
A cockroach on the food tray of the prestigious Shatabdi Express in a video sent to the channel by a passenger years ago. Now Railways' own inspection report accessed by CNN-IBN confirms the unhealthy truth.
The food that is served to you on trains is cooked in pantry cars that are dirty, smelly and waterlogged. And the washing area is dirty and unhygienic. That's how Railways' own inspection report talks about the pantry cars.
This is just one part of a series of inspections carried out by railway board on various trains in February, 2013.
In an inspection of GT Express in Southern Railways, the railway board found the pantry car's exhaust and light fixtures blackened and full of oily cobwebs. Although pest control was done just a week before, cockroaches were evident all around.
On the Tamil Nadu Express, vegetables kept on stores shelf were not fresh and black stains were found on cabbage.
Similar inspections were carried out on Shramjivi Express where the report says that water used for washing coaches was being used for cooking.
In Bihar Sampark Kranti Express, masala for filling samosas was kept open and half cooked samosas were kept in a dirty basket along with the cloth used for mopping.
The inspection notes also showed how on many trains there is a major discrepancy in rates at which food was being sold.
Reacting to the report, MoS Railways Adhir Ranjan said, "We accept that there is a problem. We are trying to rectify it."
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, we are told, had infact pulled up top officials recently for lack of hygiene on trains. Around six lakhs people use the catered food on trains and on stations across the country. These inspection reports highlight how they are being taken for a ride and their health being jeopardised.