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Lusofonia Games: Probe dishes out unpalatable food

Posted on Jan 22 2014 | IANS

Panaji, Jan 22 : A government probe into packed food portions given to over 300 vehicle drivers on the eve of the Lusofonia Games being held in Goa has revealed that these were stale and unfit for consumption.

The Games authorities have issued a warning to the catering agency which provided the food, tested by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) after complaints by the drivers of the fleet of vehicles used by athletes and officials. The test reports came out Tuesday.

"After the incident, we have taken an immediate decision to not provide food packs to drivers anymore. Instead, the Transport Function Area is providing the drivers with a meal allowance of Rs.300 per day which is the practice being followed. The catering agency has been issued a warning," Pawan Sain, Venue Development and Operations Function Area (FA) Head, Lusofonia Games, told IANS.

Sain, a senior bureaucrat, also said the food quality for other Games' officials was now being monitored for quality.

Over 300 drivers had refused to eat the food packets provided by the Lusofonia Games authorities on the eve of the opening ceremony event held Jan 18, claiming that the food, which included "pulao", curry and chicken, was stale.

The drivers also sent a few samples of the packed dinner as well as the following day's breakfast to the FDA, which after the tests, indicated that the food was mouldy and unsuited for consumption.

Senior bureaucrat Arun Desai, in charge of transport and logistics for the Games, said that since the "quantity and contents of the executive meal provided was not ideal to the consumption habits of the drivers", a food allowance was a better option.

"We earlier also faced some operational difficulties in delivering meals, as the drivers have to shuttle between seven venues, 19 operational areas and the airport as well," Desai said.

Police constables posted on duty for the Games have also complained about substandard and overpriced food packets given to them.

The Lusofonia Games are a Portuguese equivalent of the British Commonwealth Games. The team from Goa, a former Portuguese colony, includes sportspersons from the rest of India.

The 12-day sporting event of the Portuguese Commonwealth will feature countries like Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Goa (India), Macau (China), Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sri Lanka.

Competitions are being held in nine disciplines - athletics, basketball, beach volleyball, football, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball and wushu.

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