130 residents of Chembur hostel served lizard in gravy, file complaint against mess contractor
Residents of Sant Eknath Boys’ Hostel in Chembur were in for a rude shock when one of them found a lizard in the chicken gravy served to them for lunch on Sunday afternoon.
The lizard was spotted by Rahul Jambhulkar, a first year student of Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Engineering in Navi Mumbai. The 18-year-old was about to eat the first morsel when he saw a dead lizard floating in the curry he had been served.
He quickly brought the same to the notice of other students and the mess contractor. But the contractor’s unwillingness to accept responsibility led them to demand for his dismissal.
“I called the mess on-duty staff and contractor, but despite seeing the cooked lizard, they refused to acknowledge the issue. When I called other students and started clicking pictures, the mess contractor blamed us and alleged that it was a prank played by us,” Jambhulkar told Indian Express.
Jambhulkar also alleged that a shard of glass was found in the food two months back, but the administration failed to take action.
Over 50 hostel residents later submitted a complaint to Chembur police station, who have launched an investigation into the matter. The residents have also refused to eat at the hostel mess till the contractor is removed.
Some of them have further alleged that the department only provides contracts to three contractors – Ashok Pimpalkar, Ashok Thube and Suresh Salvi. If something goes wrong at one mess, the contract is assigned to one of the other two.
On his part, the contractor Suresh Salvi has claimed that the matter is being blown out of proportion and that the lizard was likely added to the meal by vengeful students, about whom he had complained a few weeks back.
The Sant Eknath Boys’ Hostel is run by the Social Welfare department of the state. It houses 130 students belonging to backward classes and from different parts of Maharashtra.
When asked about the incident, Avinash Deosatwar, Assistant Commissioner, Mumbai Suburban, Social Welfare said that the department has already started looking for a new vendor who can provide food at the same cost.
Deosatwar also added that they will be ordering food for the students in the interim and the contractor, if found guilty, will be fined for his negligence.