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Quality of food served in Parliament canteen today came under attack in Rajya Sabha as a member drew attention of the government towards MPs falling sick after consuming it.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, K C Tyagi (JD-U) said members were falling sick after consuming food from Parliament canteen and SP members Ram Gopal Yadav and Jaya Bachchan were the latest victims.
Tyagi, in a lighter vein, said it was a well-planned conspiracy to keep the members' mouth shut in Parliament.
Some members from the opposition benches remarked that food was from Gujarat, to which Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkiah Naidu said, "Some people keep dreaming of Gujarat, what can I do?"
When Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked Naidu to look into the issue, he said, "I have taken note of it. I have told the Canteen staff about it."
Bachchan said it was a fact that she had to suffer after she ate food in Parliament when it was sitting late.
The problem of poor quality of food is prevailing since last four-five years, she said, complaining, "They are serving stale food here."
Rajeev Shukla (Cong) supported her saying he was a member of the Food Committee and had suggested bringing the kitchen back to Parliament building.
"Food cooked at 6 AM is served till late night which was causing the problem," he said, adding the problem started only after kitchen was shifted from the main building.
Parliament House kitchen, which serves food to MPs, staff and journalists during the sessions and beyond, was closed down in July 2012 because of the danger posed by cooking gas cylinders.
The kitchen, which serves food to over 8,000 people during the session was closed down "to secure Parliament House against fire hazards and on the advice of Delhi fire service which has proposed to discontinue the use of LPG cylinders", a Lok Sabha bulletin had earlier said.
The government had said that MPs and mediapersons will, however, be provided with packed food serviced by the canteens in the Parliament House annexe and the library building.
But they had acknowledged the quantity of food served by the main kitchen will be difficult to be met by these canteens saying, at best, food can be provided to about 1,000 people.
The coffee board and the tea board will continue to function as usual.