A day after 26 passengers on-board the Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express were hospitalised, the IRCTC boss has claimed that a majority of those who got food poisoning had cooked and consumed their own meals.
Scroll down for official statement from IRCTC
Mahendra Pratap Mall, who heads the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC), told news agency IANS that a preliminary probe found nothing wrong in the food provided by the catering service even as a lab report was expected by Tuesday evening.
“Primarily there was one group from West Bengal that was moving for 15-17 days. They were making their own food and were carrying fish and all that with them,” Mall said.
The IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director said something was wrong with the food they had cooked and eaten. “Their cook has given a statement and admitted that they were cooking their own food.”
At least 26 passengers fell ill, complaining of uneasiness and nausea after eating the breakfast served to them. The train was stopped at Chiplun railway station around 3.15 pm and the passengers who complained were de-boarded and hospitalised.
The IRCTC said 230 passengers were served breakfast in the high-speed train on Sunday morning by the catering service. The breakfast was supplied from Madgaon base kitchen under IRCTC supervision.
Mall said IRCTC officials spoke to other passengers travelling in the train and “there were no adverse remarks”.
He said when three or four people from the group started throwing up, some other passengers travelling in the train had “a psychological effect” and they also felt nausea.
“Now all the passengers have been discharged from the hospital. There was nothing wrong in the food served in the train. We have given samples for examination. The report is expected by Tuesday evening,” he added.
None of the patients had to be admitted to the ICU and requisite travel arrangements were made for them to travel to Mumbai.
Meanwhile, Railway Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena confirmed that a showcause notice had been served to the caterer responsible for providing food on-board Tejas Express.
The high-speed Tejas Express boasts of modern amenities like LED TVs, Wi-Fi, celebrity chef menu among others. It connects Mumbai and Karmali in Goa and was launched in May this year.
Official statement from IRCTC:
Following the food poisoning incident on Mumbai-bound Tejas Express, a committee comprising of senior Railway officials was formed to investigate the event.
The committee found that the instances of food poisoning were triggered by two separate incidents.
“The first case of uneasiness was reported by the group from Himachal in which two children vomited in the coach itself. The vomiting smell triggered uneasiness in others co passengers and then another two children vomited in the same coach itself. This further vitiated the air in the AC coach and then two more children vomited. This triggered uneasiness in their parents,” it read.
In the second instance, a tour group from Kolkata got sick after consuming their own food. Their tour manager, Kajal Chakravarti, also confirmed that there was no issue with the quality of the food served on the train.
“He (Chakravarti) also reported that from the last 16 days they have been travelling to various places in Maharashtra and Goa and carrying their own cooks and food material. He also stated that they were carrying fish (Hilsa) from Kolkata,” the statement said.
“He even confirmed that he had everything served by waiters even twice but found no problem,” it added.
Other passengers also gave satisfactory feedback about the food and an inspection into the expiry dates revealed that all food items were fit for consumption.
The committee has therefore concluded that the quality of the food served on the train was not the cause of the passenger’s uneasiness and possible food poisoning.
“The problem of uneasiness was reported by the members of the tourist group which appears to be the main cause of the incident. The cause of uneasiness amongst other passengers appears to be repercussion of above as vomiting on coach floor vitiated the air quality and triggered uneasiness,” it read.
With IANS inputs