Catering services at the Indian Railways reportedly serves food unfit for the consumption of travellers, a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report has observed.
According to The Times of India, the report, which is supposed to be tabled in the Parliament on Friday, accused frequent changes in catering policies as the main reason behind mismanagement in the services.
"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 reportedly observed.
Apart from improper hygiene, the report also stated that "shelf-life expired packaged and bottled items" were offered for sale at a maximum retail price higher than the open market.
It seems the catering policies, which have been changed at least thrice since 2005, the latest instance of it being in February 2017, also have a role to play in precipitating such a situation.
"The policy of progressive switch-over from gas burners to electric power equipment in pantry cars to avoid the occurrence of fire accidents in trains was not followed while manufacturing the pantry cars in Integral Coach Factory, Perambur," the CAG noted.
The report also called out the responsible officers at the railways for not taking effective measures to improve the condition of the food served, as also that of the infrastructure in terms of base kitchens, static catering units, automatic vending machines and so on.
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