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Fine on train pantry firm for extra charge

The Indian Railways has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on a private catering company for allegedly overcharging the passengers of Bhagalpur-Delhi Vikramshila Express for food they ordered. Senior Eastern Railway officials have recommended termination of the catering companyís service.

New Delhiís RK Associates used to operate the pantry car on the train. Senior divisional commercial manager, Malda division, Eastern Railway, Birendra Prasad said an inquiry was conducted following complaints from passengers that the pantry car operator was taking extra money for the food ordered.

ďDuring the inquiry, we found the allegations to be true and we made officials at the railwaysí zonal headquarters aware of the price discrepancies,Ē said Prasad.

While the companyís managers could not be contacted, the employees of the pantry car said they only followed directions from seniors when it came to charging the passengers.

Sources in the Malda division (Bhagalpur railway station is under this division) said divisional railway manager (DRM) Rajesh Argal took the initiative to look into the complaints.

Prasad conducted the inquiry and took written complaints from passengers on board the trainís different classes. The process revealed that the pantry car operator would charge Rs 10 for tea that was priced at Rs 7, Rs 20 for mineral water instead of Rs 15, Rs 90 for a vegetarian meal instead of Rs 50 and Rs 102 for a non-vegetarian meal actually priced at Rs 55.

Sources said Argal, the DRM, also requested the chief commercial manager, zonal headquarters, New Delhi, to terminate the firmís service.

The official, the sources added, has assured that a new tender would be floated within two months to appoint a new agency for the pantry car.

For now, officials have been directed to conduct regular inspections of the pantry car between Bhagalpur and Delhi.