We talk big about Railway security and about installing the latest signaling systems. All that is great but what’s the point of it all when the food and water that we buy and eat on the Railways could in itself pose us a huge life threat.
In fact the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has submitted a report and stated that the food articles being provided on the railways, are unfit for human consumption. Some of it is contaminated or past its shelf life.
Apart from the unsuitable food, the CAG report found that the water was not purified, waste bins not covered and food stuff left to the depredations of flies, dust, rats and cockroaches.
One can lay the blame, fair and square on the private firms which are awarded contracts for cleaning through a regular tender process and herein lay the rot of corruption – though it is apparent they do not clean, the very same contractors, year after year are awarded the cleaning contract. Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) manages only catering services, but does not cook or supply food that is served to passengers. The railways minister has attempted to strike at the contractor nexus by encouraging the e-catering business. But this initiative has not fully taken off yet.
So it all sounds very advanced and good to hear about when plans for bullet train are announced. But what’s the point of it all when something as basic as hygiene is not taken care of.