Less than five months after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) deemed food served by Indian Railway in trains unfit for human consumption — a dead lizard was found in the food barely days after the CAG report — railway caterers seem to be at it again.
Travel blogger Manjulika Pramod complained on Twitter that she was served a live cockroach with her food while travelling on the Lucknow-Delhi Shatabdi Express on Saturday, December 9, with three members of her family.
All four of them had boarded the train from Kanpur and ordered vegetarian food. When it came, Manjulika observed that not only was the food packed shabbily — resulting in spillage — but that there was a live cockroach in one of the packets!
She tweeted about it: "We showed it to the attendant. All 3 of us returned our plates too but nobody even bothered to take any responsibility. This is not first time. I have often complained for Rajdhani train food too. [sic]"
The fourth person kept the food with them to test its quality. Manjulika told International Business Times, India: "As usual, it was not up to the mark."
The Ministry of Railways replied within 20 minutes of her initial tweet, saying that the matter was "being escalated to concerned officials" in the North Zone, under whose aegis the Lucknow Shatabdi plies.
However, no one arrived for an hour after this response, Manjulika told IBTimes India. It was only when she tweeted to them again that two people — one from the Railway and one from the contractor side — came to inspect.
She said in a tweet: "Manager Kripa Shanker is saying that the issue of pest control is often escalated but not looked into. Dileep Singh from @irctc is also here to take feedback but I am also expecting some action. [sic]"
That action may have been taken, if one is to go by the official Twitter handle of IRCTC North Zone. They said in a tweet: "Inconvenience caused is deeply regretted, Hope you have been attended by IRCTC official . A memo has been issued to concerned railway for proper pest control in the coaches [sic]"
They added: "and service provider has been strictly warned to council their staff to be more careful during the services to the passenger in future. [sic]"