At least 24 passengers of the Goa-Mumbai Tejas Express fell ill after consuming food served by the onboard pantry car operator and were admitted to hospitals on Sunday, officials said. The IRCTC has launched an investigation.
A Central Railway official, who didn't want to be named, told IANS: "The passengers complained of uneasiness and nausea around 12.10 p.m. after eating breakfast served to them.
"The train was stopped at Chiplun railway station around 3.15 p.m. and the passengers who complained were deboarded." Chiplun is in Ratnagiri district, nearly 260 km from Mumbai.
The train was on its way from Goa's Karmali to Mumbai's Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Some confusion prevailed after Konkan Railway Corporation Railway put the number of ill passengers at 26 while the IRCTC said it was 24.
"Today (Sunday), 26 passengers travelling in 22120 Karmali - CSTM Tejas Exp suffered from food poisoning. All 26 passengers admitted in Life Care hospital. All passengers are out of danger. KRCL is providing all necessary assistance @RailMinIndia," the KRCL said in a tweet.
The catering of Tejas Express is managed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
"The Konkan Railway officials had arranged first aid and ambulances for the passengers. The passengers were taken to government and private hospitals," the official said.
The IRCTC, in a series of tweets, said: "Food samples have been taken for investigation. A total of 230 breakfasts (117 Vegetarian + 113 Non-Vegetarian) have been served."
"Director Catering services is proceeding to Mumbai to follow up the matter. Follow up action and monitoring is being done to ensure proper assistance."
IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director M.P. Mall told IANS: "The food was supplied from Madgaon (Goa) base kitchen under our supervision and nothing abnormal was reported. But everything is being investigated."
He also said that the IRCTC has collected the raw material from the kitchen.
Mall said that the passengers were provided breakfast along with Knorr soup.
"We are investigating the entire matter," he said, adding that he has spoken to the passengers admitted to hospitals.
"The passengers admitted to hospital are out of danger," the IRCTC official added.
The country's first high-speed Tejas Express service, boasting of Wi-Fi, LCD screens, and automatic doors, was flagged off on May 22.