Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu was in for a tough time during the question over in Rajya Sabha over the quality and hygiene of food served in the railways.
JD(U) member Kahkashan Perween from Bihar raised the issue of cleanliness of cutlery and other utensils used by the vendors.
Kahkashan Perween said: “Most of the time food packets are stacked right in front of toilet and some vendor may be washing the cutlery in the same basin itself.”
Referring to the government’s flagship schemes – Swachch Bharat and Swasth Bharat, she asked what would happen to railway passengers if low quality food is served in Indian railways and hygiene is not maintained.
Her words found echoes in Samajwadi Party member Neeraj Shekhar Singh from Uttar Pradesh.
Ripun Bora, Congress member from Assam also complained that there was no proper place in railway coaches for keeping the food before it is served.
Ripun Bora said: “Food is always stacked in front of a toilet in coach.”
Responding to the members’ questions, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu admitted that the food served by private members were not upto the mark that is why the government has formulated a new policy in which food preparation and food distribution activities are completely segregated.
He said the government was trying to provide warm and tasty food to railway passengers.
He also admitted that the government was receiving lot of complaints about the e-catering facility of railways through which passengers could have ordered their meals online.
He also informed the house that the IRCTC, a joint venture company of Indian Railways, has been tasked with supervising the food quality.
He said the passengers could contact the food helpline of railways or reach the ministry through social media or twitter handle of the ministry.