Northern Railway serves Rs 16.4 cr bill for providing cheaper foods at Parliament canteens
The four canteens, run by the Northern Railway, are located at Parliament House, Parliament House Annexe, Parliament House Reception and Parliament House Library Building.
Canteens in Parliament had been a subject of controversy due to low food prices. Now, it has come to light that Northern Railway, which runs four canteens in Parliament, has served the Lok Sabha secretariat a bill of Rs 16.43 crore for its services. Lok Sabha secretariat revealed this in a reply to an RTI query. The RTI was filed by Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaud.
As per an RTI reply, a chapati in Parliament canteens cost Rs two, assorted dal Rs five, rice Rs 7, kheer and masala dosa Rs 18 each and chicken curry Rs 50.
This amount was claimed as "subsidy claim and establishment cost". The four canteens are located at Parliament House, Parliament House Annexe, Parliament House Reception and Parliament House Library Building.
Through this note, sent in July 2018, the railways demanded Rs 16,43,90,598 for 2017-18 towards "subsidy claim and establishment cost".
As of January 16, 2019, railways had not received payment on these two heads, the RTI reply further said.
Replying to another RTI query by Gaud, the Lok Sabha secretariat informed on December 11, 2018 that "subsidy claim...Submitted by the Northern Railway Catering Unit, Parliament House Complex, has been sent to the Ministry of Finance for scrutiny and vetting.
However, to Gaud's specific query as to how much subsidy Northern Railway demanded on account of the loss suffered due to sale of food at low rates, there was no clear reply.
"Separate reimbursement of losses on account of food is not demanded from Lok Sabha Secretariat. Total expenditure on account of food, establishment and other charges etc. Is given to Lok Sabha Secretariat for reimbursement," it said.
Low food prices at Parliament canteens had been a controversial issue in the past.
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On December 31, 2015, the Lok Sabha secretariat had informed that these canteens will henceforth operate on "No-profit, No-loss" basis from January 1, 2016, and the rates would be hiked accordingly.
(With PTI inputs)