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The Centre was today asked by the Delhi High Court to respond to a PIL seeking adequate measures by the government to ensure that hygienic and quality food is available at railway premises and also in moving trains.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the Railway Ministry, Chairman of Railway Board, Director General (Railway Health Services) and also the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on a PIL filed by Sardar Jagjit Singh, a retired Food Inspector with Railways.

The petitioner filed the PIL through counsel K C Mittal and said 23 million people travel by train in various parts of the country every day and “the petition focuses on the prevailing appalling conditions of sale and supply of adulterated food stuffs in Indian Railways.”

The lawyer also submitted a CD containing a news article from a television channel and said “the worst is the insensitivity and failure on the part of the respondents to take adequate steps to ensure sale and supply of unadulterated, wholesome and hygienic food to 23 million passengers who travel everyday (24X7) by trains in different parts of the country.”

Seeking a direction to various authorities to issue notifications in compliance the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, the PIL said, “…Establish prosecuting and adjudicating agency and Food Safety Appellate Tribunal, at micro level to monitor and check the food adulteration day and night at various Railway stations.”

It said the checking should be done in passengers and goods trains, pantry cars, other food outlets in Railway area operated by private contractors or IRCTC or food plazas including unauthorised vendors and canteens run by Railways.

The bench has now fixed October 31 for further hearing of the matter.

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