Fourteen passengers on board the Puri-Howrah Shatabdi Express had to be hospitalised in Kharagpur after at least 40 of them fell ill after eating breakfast served on board Wednesday morning.
Railway authorities said an inquiry will be conducted as the incident put the spotlight on hygiene.
The affected passengers were travelling in coach numbers C1 and C2. Breakfast was served after 7 am. When the train reached Kharagpur at 11.45 am, the passengers were taken to the railway hospital after they complained of abdominal pain and vomiting.
“The food was supplied by IRCTC and it was loaded on the train at Puri. Some passengers fell ill after eating it. They are being treated at Kharagpur. Inquires will be conducted by us as well as IRCTC,” said Sanjoy Ghosh, chief public relations officer, South Eastern Railway.
“Samples of the food have been collected. We will take necessary steps,” said K Rabin Kumar Reddy, divisional railway manager (DRM) of the Kharagpur division of South-Eastern Railway. “We will also inquire whether the vendor had collected the food from outside,” the DRM added.
Though Reddy said some passengers might have bought food from hawkers, the passengers claimed they had eaten food that was served in the train.
“We were served omelette and bread after the train left Bhubaneswar. After a while we started having abdominal pain. Most of us were vomiting,” said Kakali Sengupta, a passenger and resident of Siliguri in north Bengal.
Kakali, along with her husband Rupam Sengupta, are undergoing treatment at the hospital. Their two children fell ill too, but somehow recovered faster than the others.
“We went to Puri on May 19. We opted for Shatabdi for our return journey because food is served on this train. We never imagined we would land in a hospital,” said Sengupta.
“We were returning from Puri. None of us bought food from hawkers or shops outside the station. We took the breakfast served by the railway staff,” said Rabin Majumder, a resident of Baruipur in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district. Majumdar was travelling with a big group of passengers from Baruipur.
The Howrah-bound Shatabdi leaves Puri at 5.45 am and breakfast is served at 7 am.