Commuter finds worms in buttermilk dispenser at railway canteen in Palghar
WR fines contractor a mere ₹10k, activists say WR has shown leniency towards the contractorUpdated: May 01, 2018 10:57 IST
A railway canteen in Palghar has been fined by the Western Railway (WR) for not “maintaining hygiene” after worms were found in the empty glass container of a buttermilk dispenser during the early hours of Saturday. A commuter wanted to have a glass of buttermilk, when to his shock; he found worms freely moving in the glass container. A complaint was registered with the Palghar station master and WR fined the contractor ₹10,000. However, railway activists have said WR has shown leniency towards the contractor and let him off with a measly fine when the stall should have been closed till further action.
Praful Gawad, 38, assistant manager at the cargo section of the International Airport, Mumbai, and a resident of Palghar, had arrived at Palghar at 1am. As he was thirsty, he decided to have a glass of buttermilk from a food stall on platform number one.
“To my shock, I found small worms moving freely inside the glass container of the buttermilk dispenser. I brought it to the notice of the contractor Chandanlal Shah, who tried to ignore the matter and even went on to say to do whatever I wanted. Therefore, I complained to the station master immediately and he gave me the copy of the complaint also,” said Gawad.
“As I noticed the worms at late night, I am sure a lot of commuters, during the daytime, may have drunk glasses of buttermilk from the same dispenser. The worms were seen clearly in the container when the container was empty since both the worms and buttermilk are white in colour. Therefore, many commuters may not have noticed the same,” said Gawad.
Ravinder Bhakar, CPRO, WR, said WR has fined the contractor ₹10,000 for “not maintaining hygiene” and the amount was paid to the commercial department. Bhakar added that a warning was also issued to the contractor.
“If the offence is repeated, we will ask him to close the canteen,” said Bhakar.
Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad, Kurla, has slammed WR for letting off the contractor with a mere ₹10k fine.
“Food stall contractors earn huge profits as many commuters consume food from the railway canteens due to its affordability. WR, however, instead of closing down the canteen, has let off the contractor with an insignificant fine,” said Gupta.
“I am ready to pay ₹1 lakh from my association to WR to drink the same worm-infected buttermilk. I totally blame WR for showing leniency towards the contractor,” said Gupta.
Gupta said that in December 2017, the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India had exposed the unhygienic conditions of food stalls at railway stations and also the poor quality of food served there. As a result, the railway administration was asked to undertake a cleanliness drive.
“It is common to find, rats, cockroaches, ants and other pests at these railway food stalls and little attention is paid to their cleanliness. The worst affected are poor passengers, who are served badly cooked food in unhygienic conditions,” alleged Gupta.