Cricketers turning out for the CLT20 matches in Raipur are at grave risk as the cutlery meant to serve food is allegedly being washed in a pond.
The matter came to light when HT, on Monday, spotted two men of the catering staff washing dishes in a pond dug by the Chhattisgarh government close to the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium, where the matches are being played for the past 10 days.
Though the semi-clad men refused to identify themselves, they admitted that the dishes were meant for players and VVIPs coming for the matches. "All these plates will be used in tomorrow's (Tuesday's) match. The water isn't bad and is better than tap water," said one of them.
Gateway Hotels and Resorts, of the Taj Group, which takes care of the players' meals, accepted that some 50-odd plates, bowls, etc, were used on Monday after the practice sessions of the Northern Knights and Hobart Hurricanes, but denied that its men washed dishes at the pond.
"We make sure that all dishes get washed at the hotel itself at the end of the day's proceedings as we have a special system to kill bacteria," the hotel's food and beverage manager, Vishal Srivastava, told HT. "We even dispose the garbage at the hotel to ensure hygiene."
Officials of Shemrok Hotel, which is also involved in catering at the matches, refused to take responsibility. Its managing director, Mandip, claimed his hotel had nothing to do with the players' meals. "We are responsible for the media and commentators' (food) on the third floor of the pavilion, and we did the cleaning within the stadium premises on Saturday morning," said Mandip.
"Cleaning utensils in the pond water makes no sense," he said, adding, "We have a track record of being the best food suppliers in the state capital and we can't afford such things."
Chhattisgarh Cricket Association's general secretary, Rajesh Dave, promised a probe into the issue.