A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has slammed the standards of food and beverages served by Railway Catering services, calling them “unsuitable for human consumption.”
In a report published by The Asian Age, the CAG in its report on railway catering till March 2016, the CAG pointed out that besides the lack of hygiene, catering staff weren’t issuing bills for the food items.
CAG observed that the Railway catering riddled with contaminated foodstuff, recycled foodstuff, expiry packaged and bottled items, unauthorised brands of water bottles were offered to passengers for sale at railway stations.
The CAG audit found that the frequent changes in railway catering policy have created a state of uncertainty in the management of catering services provided to the passengers.
An inspection by the CAG has revealed that cleanliness and hygiene aspect not maintained at all, and lists several deficiencies in food quality.
CAG and the railway team inspected around 74 railway stations and 80 trains noticed that cleanliness and hygiene were not being maintained at catering units at stations and trains the report revealed.
“Unpurified water straight from tap was used in preparation of beverages, waste bins were not found covered, not emptied regularly and not washed, food stuff were not covered to protect them from flies, insects and dust, rats and cockroaches were found in trains etc,” the audit report said.
CAG report commenting on the pantry cars said that ‘the policy of switch over from gas burners to electric power equipment in pantry cars to prevent fire mishaps in trains was not followed while manufacturing the pantry cars in Integral Coach Factory at Perambur,’ the report said.
The CAG report noted that the prices of materials sold at railway stations were significantly higher than that of the same items being sold on the open market. It also reportedly noted a failure on the part of the Railways in providing the necessary infrastructure.