Pune: A month ago, after nabbing illegal vendors at Pune railway station operating stalls even after expiry of their contract, the railway administration on Tuesday nabbed 15 illegal vendors for selling food items at platform number two and three.
However, they were not prepared to hear what the vendors blurted out, something everyone knows, but no one says. On Tuesday, railway activist Harsha Shah got hold of 15 illegal vendors and reported them to the authorities and Railway Protection Force (RPF), following which a non-cognisable offence was registered against the vendors under section 144 (A) of Railway Act.
All 15 vendors were presented in front of Railway court and a fine of Rs 1,000 each was imposed on them.
A vendor said in front of a senior railway officer, after being released from the court, that most of the vendors are paying ‘bribe’ to RPF staff deputed at Pune railway station.
On condition of anonymity, a senior railway official told Sakal Times, “I was shocked when I heard from one of the vendors who was selling food illegally, that they are paying Rs 125 every day to RPF staff members.”
There have been several complaints by passengers about illegal vendors serving overpriced food in long distance trains, especially those going to North India.
“We have been selling food items for a long time. We are paying Rs 125 every day to RPF staff to sell our food. This is a fixed rate and no one stops us. If we are nabbed, we pay in the court and if we are not nabbed, we pay to the RPF,” revealed a vendor at Pune station.
“It is mandatory for the railways to provide pantry coaches in every train, as hundreds of passengers need good quality and affordable food during their travel. Many illegal vendors or individuals are getting into running trains, taking orders from passengers and serving them bad quality food,” said Harsha Shah, Railway Pravasi Group President.
“It is the job of the railway administration and RPF to contain such illegal food sellers who endanger the health of passengers. When they fail or turn a blind eye, common citizens like me have to do the needful,” said Shah.