| Rough ride: Saptkranti Express at Motihari station. Picture by Ajit Kumar Verma |
Motihari, Nov. 14: Refusal to buy food from the pantry car cost some passengers on board Motihari-bound Saptkranti Express dear. They were not only allegedly harassed by the pantry staff but also forced to pay up Rs 200 each for the food packets.
Passengers Sanjeet Kumar, Dinesh Kumar, Manoj Kumar and Shailendra Kumar, all residents of Barkagaon village under Pakridayal police station of East Champaran, lodged a written complaint with the Bapudham Motihari Government Railway Police (GRP) against the pantry staff and manager. All four passengers work as daily labourers in the national capital.
The station house officer of Bapudham Motihari GRP, Mahendra Ram, confirmed that a complaint was lodged by the four passengers on Saturday.
According to the complaint, the four passengers boarded the general compartment of the train on Saturday with homemade food to avoid overexpenditure during the journey. However, near Lucknow station, some catering staff entered the compartment and started pestering them to purchase the food packets. When the four refused to buy the food, the pantry staff became aggressive and threatened each one of them to take the packets. “They (pantry staff) then snatched Rs 200 from each of us and left the food packets in front of us,” read the complaint.
The amount snatched is much more than the cost of food packets. While a vegetarian platter costs Rs 32, a non-vegetarian platter comes for Rs 37.
The report further added that when the four men complained about the incident to the pantry car manager, Santosh Kumar, he did not pay any heed to the matter and asked them to leave at once.
This is not a one-off incident on Saptkranti superfast train. A couple of years ago, one Guddu Singh of Chandmari locality had complained of similar misbehaviour by the catering staff during his journey to Motihari. The local people, in fact, had clashed with the pantry staff when the train reached Motihari station. No complaint was lodged with the GRP then.
In the first week of October this year, the chief commercial manager (passengers safety) had visited Motihar station on his way to Raxaul and seized at least 150 water bottles of some brand other that Rail Neer. The catering manager of the train was fined for the irregularities being committed by the pantry staff.
C.K. Raghavan, chief commercial manager (catering), when contacted, said he had no information about such a complaint.
Senior divisional commissioner manager, Samastipur division, Sameer Kumar, meanwhile, assured that action would be taken against the guilty persons. Rail deputy superintendent of police Avinash Kumar said senior officials have been informed about the incident and all the accused persons would be nab- bed soon.