Despite claims of improved food quality on Indian Railways trains, incidents of finding insects in meals provided by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) continue to persist, raising concerns about the hygiene standards in railway kitchens and pantry cars. A recent incident on the ultra-luxurious Vande Bharat Express train has drawn attention to the issue, as a passenger was shocked to discover a cockroach embedded in the chapati served as part of the meal.
The passenger, who was traveling from Bhopal to Gwalior, immediately took to social media to share images of the ‘insect-infested’ roti, triggering widespread displeasure among fellow travelers. The pictures clearly showcased the unhygienic conditions in which the meals were prepared and served on the train, raising questions about the quality control measures in place.
— pundook🔫🔫 (@subodhpahalajan) July 24, 2023
In response to the passenger’s tweet, the official Twitter handle of IRCTC promptly asked for the passenger’s PNR number and expressed regret over the unpleasant experience. They assured the passenger that appropriate action would be taken to prevent such incidents in the future. While this indicates a willingness on the part of IRCTC to address customer complaints, it also highlights the seriousness of the issue.
Regrettably, this is not the first time such incidents have come to light. Insects found in IRCTC meals have been reported on various trains before, casting doubt on the effectiveness of the measures taken to improve food quality. The incident on the prestigious Vande Bharat Express is particularly concerning as this train is known for its top-notch amenities and services, and such occurrences tarnish its reputation.
In another incident, a man traveling with his wife and eight-year-old son faced an ordeal at Rani Kamlapati Station in Bhopal when he had to use the Vande Bharat Express toilet in an emergency. However, he found himself trapped inside the locked toilet, prompting him to seek help from the police and ticket collectors. Unfortunately, the situation did not end favorably for him, as he was fined ₹1,020 for boarding the train without a ticket. This incident raises questions about the accessibility and maintenance of facilities on trains, especially in emergency situations.
Both incidents underscore the pressing need for the Indian Railways to prioritize and improve hygiene standards, food quality, and toilet facilities on trains. Passengers have a right to expect safe and hygienic travel experiences, and the authorities must take decisive action to address these issues and ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.