Seven hours of gruelling security duty and not even a drop of water to drink.
Officers of Delhi Police's security liaison accompanying foreign athletes and delegates alleged that they were treated badly on the much-touted 'Taj Experience' trip on Thursday.
“We started around 8 am from the Safdarjung Railway Station and reached Agra at 10:30 am. Because of the early reporting time, none of us had had breakfast,” said a security liaison officer, requesting anonymity.
Throughout the two and a half hours that the 30 officers guarding an estimated 100 athletes and delegates were on the train, they weren't offered even a glass of water.
“The players and the people with them kept munching on snacks and could order anything that they liked but when we asked for the same, we were told it wasn't for us. We would have been able to manage had the train stopped at stations like normal trains but it didn't,” the officer said.
The officers reportedly got their first and only meal of the day after reaching a five star hotel around 2 pm. Two seven-member teams from the Delhi Police Headquarters' Administration department have been put on security liaison duty for the games.
“When we finally reached the hotel after standing guard at a cultural programme for another hour or so, we were given a little stale food and asked to eat quickly. We weren't even allowed to carry extra water with us for the journey back,” said the officer.
More than an hour after they had reached Agra railway station, the train finally departed for Delhi at 6.15 pm reaching the Capital around 8 pm. There was no food or water this time around either, the officer claimed.
On its part, Northern Railways officials said the officers' discontent stemmed from not being offered the same food as that offered to the athletes and delegates.
“This is a blatant lie. The officers are there to take care of security concerns instead of munching away. Adequate food and water are provided to them both on the train and after reaching Agra,” said Manish Tiwari, Chief Public Relations Officer, Northern Railways.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, “Though I can't comment about what transpired on the train, the hotel is reported to have had proper arrangements for the officers. Care has been taken to ensure that such a complaint is not received again.”
Sources in the Delhi Police said scarcity of food and water was due to overcrowding on the train. Northern Railways had been contacted and told to take care of security liaison officers next trip onwards, they added.