Railway officials in Kasaragod heaved a sigh of relief after deftly handling a chaotic situation on the Ernakulam-bound Marusagar express — which reached the town late on Saturday night with agitated passengers complaining of uneasiness after eating stale food served on the train.

All the seven passengers, who showed symptoms of food poisoning, hyper-tension and low pulse rate were taken to the General Hospital and the nearby Malik Dinar hospital. Several others were administered first aid treatment inside the station and on-board the train, thanks to the well-coordinated efforts taken ahead of the arrival of the train at 11.02 pm, a senior railway official here said.

On being alerted from Mangalore about the commotion inside the super-fast express train from Ajmer, the railway officials requisitioned the services of a team of physicians and paramedical staff. The initiatives were supervised by N. A. Nellikkunnu, MLA, who rushed to the station on realizing the gravity of the situation.

All the senior railway officials here were asked to rush to the station to tackle the emergency as volunteers from nearby area joined hands to facilitate urgent medical attention, the railway official here said.

Three ambulances from the hospitals and the fire service and police personnel were requisitioned at the station by 10 p.m., an hour ahead of the arrival of the train which reached 83 minutes late after it halted at the Mangalore Junction to facilitate medical treatment for the affected.

Seven affected passengers, including Mohammed Kutty (35), Mohammed Ali (35), both hailing from Perinthalmanna, and Abu Baker (64) from Mannarcaud, were taken to the General hospital and Malik Dinar hospitals and were discharged by 3 a.m.. A few other affected passengers, in the S-11 and S-12 coaches of the train, were administered first aid treatment at the railway station.

The agitated passengers complained about the “rude” behaviour of the pantry car Manager who reportedly insisted them to simply take the food offered by them, he said.

N. A. Nellikkunnu, who complimented the steps taken here, said he experienced foul smell from the stale bread “delicacy” offered by the pantry car.

DRM Palakkad Piyush Aggarwal had assured him to take up the matter with the railway ministry, he said, adding that he also would shoot a letter to the ministry about the poor but costly food served in quite a few long distance trains from Kerala.

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