After suspending one of its officers and the catering manager of the Goa-Mumbai Tejas Express, the top official of the railway official catering service said on Monday that most of the 24 passengers, hospitalised after consuming food on board the train on Sunday, ate their own cooked meals and there was nothing wrong in the food served in the train.
Mahendra Pratap Mall, who heads the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC), told IANS that a preliminary probe found nothing wrong in the food provided by the catering service even as a lab report was expected by Tuesday evening.
"Primarily there was one group from West Bengal that was moving for 15-17 days. They were making their own food and were carrying fish and all that with them," Mall said.
The IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director said something was wrong with the food they had cooked and eaten. "Their cook has given a statement and admitted that they were cooking their own food."
At least 24 passengers fell ill, complaining of uneasiness and nausea after eating the breakfast served to them. The train was stopped at Chiplon railway station around 3.15 p.m. and the passengers who complained were deboarded and hospitalised.
The IRCTC said 230 passengers were served breakfast in the high-speed train -- that has Wi-Fi connectivity, LCD screens and automatic doors -- on Sunday morning by the catering service. The breakfast was supplied from Madgaon base kitchen under IRCTC supervision.
Mall said IRCTC officials spoke to other passengers travelling in the train and "there were no adverse remarks".
He said when three or four people from the group started throwing up, some other passengers travelling in the train had "a psychological effect" and they also felt nausea.
"Now all the passengers have been discharged from the hospital. There was nothing wrong in the food served in the train. We have given samples for examination. The report is expected by Tuesday evening."
(With IANS inputs)