PUNE: Despite a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) calling railway food ‘unfit for consumption’, Pune railway division was caught napping when an activist caught a food contractor selling food on a platform after the expiry of his contract.
Harsha Shah caught one of the staffers with VMT Caterers and reported him to the authorities and Railway Protection Force (RPF), following which a non-cognisable offence was registered against the vendor under section 144 (A), Prohibition on hawking, etc, and begging, of the Railway Act. RPF has booked Ashish Kumar Gupta (19), a vendor working for VMT Caterers, for unauthorised vending of food at the railway platform.
As per Shah, the contract of VMT expired on July 6. The contract is for sale of packaged food such as biscuits, chips, packaged cold drinks and water. However, the contractor sold prepared items such as vada pav, pulao, pakoda and kachori during the contract term. Although the contract expired 18 days ago, the contractor was still operating.
“I caught this vendor wearing the uniform provided by VMT Caterers and took him to the office of the Station Manager. They told me that they had nothing to do with him and it was RPF’s job to act against ‘unauthorised vendors’,” said Shah.
When asked how illegal vendors were operating under the nose of the railway administration, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (DCM) Krishnath Patil said, “There’s no question of anyone operating after expiry of contract. However, it’s possible that staffers of the contractor were selling things by wearing his uniform without the knowledge of the contractors.”