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Caterers struggle to feed hungry workforce

delhi Updated: Oct 08, 2010 23:00 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

Even after hiring four caterers to feed the workforce at venues, the Commonwealth Games organisers can't seem to fix their catering problems.

Fed up of complaints from volunteers, security personnel and officials about bad quality of food, the Organising Committee (OC) has now given venues the right to hire caterers on their own if they do not like the caterers hired by the OC.

One venue, ITPO, has exercised that right.

Sources said the chief reason behind the fiasco was that organisers severely underestimated the number of people they would need to feed everyday to run the event smoothly.

It has been learnt that the catering contract given to Aggarwal Food Products (AFP) for workforce and volunteers at Rs 8.75 crore estimated that only 5,000 people would have breakfast, around 15,000 would have lunch and around 5,000 would have dinner every day at all venues combined.

Such unrealistic estimates threw the caterers out of gear because the number of breakfasts alone reached 50,000 from Day 1 on and included security personnel as well.

"We were not prepared to meet that kind of demand because no one had given us the real estimates," said Patanjali Shukla, director of AFP.

Contrary to earlier claims by the OC, the caterer is still serving food, although much less as the job has been divided among newly hired caterers, including Bikanervala, Nirula's and ICS Foods Pvt Ltd.

Thanks to the faulty estimates, now the budget for catering has also gone up as the number of meals has increased substantially, the OC said.

"The budget has certainly increased, but I cannot say how much," said Sanjiv Mittal, head of venue catering at the OC.

Sources said the OC is still not placing its orders for meals 72 hours in advance, as the contracts demand.

"They call up in the night multiple times and keep changing the number of meals they require," said a catering official.