The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed major lapses in the Indian Railways catering services in a report that he submitted on Friday evening saying that the food and water sold at the railway stations and trains are “unfit for human consumption.” The CAG has come up with this report after a joint inspection of 74 railway stations and 80 trains across India. The report found that unpurified water is being used to make beverages, food is left out in the open, uncovered and unwashed waste bins, and rats and cockroaches at catering units in trains and stations. Here are the 5 things you need to know about the report:
1. In a major revelation, the CAG audit report said, “articles unsuitable for human consumption, contaminated foodstuff, recycled foodstuff, shelf life expired packaged and bottled items, unauthorised brands of water bottles, etc., were offered for sale on stations,” as per PTI.
2. The CAG prepared the report after joint inspection, with the Indian Railways, of 74 railway stations and 80 trains across India. It is also being observed that there is no reduction in the number of complaints over the years and the major share of complaints was related to overcharging and quality issues.
3. The report also said that there are a number of unauthorised vendors operating on platforms and trains. Between 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 about 2.39 lakh cases were prosecuted by Railway Protection Force and fine was also imposed in eight Zonal Railways, as per CNN news 18.
4. The CAG report also noted that unfair practices were being done at trains and stations. It said, “unfair practices were being followed in the execution of catering services at stations and trains. The Bills for the items were not given served in mobile units in trains.”
5. The CAG in its report also said that the hygiene was compromised. “Food stuff served was less than the prescribed scheduled quantity, unapproved packaged drinking water was sold, Propriety Article Depot (PAD) items were sold at the railway stations at maximum retail price (MRP),” it added.