Chandigarh: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Ambala Division of Northern Railway were fined by the UT Consumer Forum after a Chandigarh resident complained of an insect in her food packet on the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express. The Forum has directed the Ambala Division to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to the complainant for causing harassment and mental agony. The Forum has also directed IRCTC to refund Rs 270 at an interest of 18 per cent per annum with effect from July 3, 2016, till the payment is made.
The complainant, Shalini Jain, a resident of Sector 21, Chandigarh, stated that she and her two sons were travelling from Chandigarh to New Delhi on July 3, 2016, by the Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express. She added that she and her sons were served breakfast. However, when Jain took the first bite of her meal, she saw an insect crawling about in her food packet. She brought it to the notice of the catering staff who failed to give a reply. She added that the catering staff offered them other meal packs but she and her sons refused to take that, too. Jain then asked the train staff, including the ticket checker, to give her the register to lodge a complaint, but they did not do so. Then, she sent a complaint to the railway minister on October 12, 2016. Again, got no reply. Thus, she lodged a complaint with the Forum.
IRCTC then replied to the Forum that they had no role in providing catering service on the train i.e Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express and that the catering service on July 3, 2016, was provided by the service provider engaged by Northern Railway, as per the policy. Ambala Division of Northern Railway did not turn up despite being served notice.
After the arguments by the lawyers of both sides, the Forum’s order stated, “This is a serious lapse on the part of the catering officials especially supervisor, who miserably failed to supervise the preparation and service of food to the passengers on train. The complainant has paid Rs 270 as catering charges, but could not eat the meal and suffered a lot and even her little kids were deprived of meal during the journey…”