Woman wins Rs. 10,000 from Railways for insect in train-food
Nearly two years later, an insect found in food served aboard a train has come back to bite the Indian Railways. A consumer redressal forum has ordered it to pay Rs. 10,000 to the passenger who found the insect in her food. The order noted that she had paid Rs. 270 as catering charges, but "couldn't eat...and even her kids were deprived of meals."
Shalini Jain was traveling from Chandigarh to Delhi on the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi on July 3, 2016, along with her two sons. She had paid for food, but was shocked to find a live insect in the pack. She mentioned it to the staff, but they reportedly didn't do anything. The TTE refused to give her the complaints register either.
In October'16, she sent a complaint to the railway minister, saying they had ended up returning all their food packets. Though the staff offered her fresh packets, they didn't accept them. Jain added it was an unfair trade practice that the Railways was forcing pre-decided meals on passengers and then serving "unhygienic, infested and unpresentable meals during the journey." But the minister didn't respond.
"This is a serious lapse on the part of the Catering Officials," observed the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, ordering a compensation of Rs. 10,000 plus refund of the catering charges. It also noted that "despite detail(ed) instructions...no effective steps have been taken by most of the Railway Zones to uplift the quality of service of food to the passengers."
Last July, a CAG report revealed alarming facts: contaminated and recycled food, unpurified water direct from taps and other edibles unfit for consumption is being served on trains and stations. Rats and cockroaches were found in many of the 80 trains and 74 stations audited. It blamed frequent changes in catering policy and inability of the Railways to provide proper infrastructure for the situation.