In Parliament, several members shared their concern over something they simply can’t stomach – stale food in the canteen.
The matter was raised in the Rajya Sabha as a “point of order” by Janata Dal United member KC Tyagi, who said Samajwadi members Ramgopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan had fallen ill after having food at the Parliament canteen.
“It is a well-planned conspiracy to keep members’ mouth shut in Parliament,” he joked.
This was the longest that any subject was discussed without any disruptions till around 12:30 pm, when the food problem was raised. Rajya Sabha had adjourned twice over the bugging controversy before that.
Jaya Bachchan recounted her own experience, telling the house that when a discussion on the budget went on for long hours a few days ago, MPs were forced to eat at the canteen and had promptly fallen sick.
Congress leader Rajiv Shukla, who is also a member of the House Food Committee, said packaged food arrives at Parliament House at 6 am and the same food is served till evening as the kitchen has been shut for the last few years. He said cooking should be allowed in the kitchen once more.
Previous Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had reportedly ordered the kitchen to shut down saying it was a “security hazard” due to the large number of gas cylinders. Since then, food has been cooked outside and then brought to the Parliament building.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkiah Naidu reportedly assured the members that he would “urgently” look into this matter.
The Parliament canteen is among the cheapest eateries in the country, where lawmakers and even journalists can have a hearty meal for an eye-popping Rs. 12. The costliest dish on the heavily subsidised menu is a plate of chicken biryani, which costs Rs. 34.