Alipurduar, April 6: At least 23 passengers travelling on the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express fell sick after having dinner served by the railway last night, Alipurduar divisional railway manager Pradip Bhatnagar said today.
Several of the passengers vomited and had a bout of diarrhoea, while others complained of nausea and stomach ache in what appeared to be food poisoning. Among the sick were four children.
All the sick passengers were travelling in the three-tier AS-7 and AS-8 coaches. There were no reports of passengers in other coaches falling ill.
The train was detained at New Jalpaiguri and New Cooch Behar stations as doctors treated the sick passengers, Bhatnagar, who rushed to the New Cooch Behar station to oversee the treatment, said.
A senior railway officer, posted at New Jalpaiguri, said the passengers had complained of uneasiness after having dinner last night.
“We got an SOS from Katihar this morning, asking us to keep doctors ready to attend to the sick passengers at NJP station,” he said, adding that two doctors had attended to the passengers.
The dinner, cooked in the train’s pantry car, was served around 8.30 pm yesterday. By this morning, several passengers came down with the symptoms of food poisoning.
As the train pulled into New Cooch Behar station around 2.40 in the afternoon, it was stopped. Doctors and paramedics with medicines and bottles of saline rushed in. Ambulances were kept on standby outside the station.
Bhatnagar said he rushed there the moment he learnt about the incident. But none of the sick passengers required hospitalisation.
Assistant commercial manager R.K. Basunia said a total of four railway doctors treated the sick at the New Cooch Behar station.
“We had made all the arrangements, but fortunately the condition of the passengers was not serious enough to merit hospitalisation,” Basunia said.
Railway source said the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation recently took over the catering on the prestigious train.
The train left for Guwahati after the doctors declared the passengers fit enough to travel. J. Bhattacharya, one railway doctor, however, accompanied the passengers to Guwahati.