Alliance University Weekly Reading Comprehension Quiz- Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of Alliance University Reading Comprehension Quiz. This week we continue to bring you an interesting passage followed by a fresh and comprehensible set of questions. Refine your reading skills and grab your chance to bag a cash prize of INR 500!This competition is brought to you by Alliance University, Bangalore.



Last Week’s winner is Harshad Rane. (Harshad wins a cash prize of INR 500/- We have written to you Harshad. Please get in touch with us soon.)

This week’s passage:

The railways have national contracts with food packaging guys for the exceptional catering service they provide us hungry souls on our long, arduous travels. All the due processes are obviously followed to grant these contracts by inviting tenders and bringing on board only the best companies with good prices and great track records in providing healthy food made out of the best possible materials. But herein lay the rub—the five year long contracts aren’t based on the number of passengers booked in a train. They are based on the number of seats available in a train.

So if ‘X’ number of special trains with catering cars having ‘Y’ number of seats in each of them, run ‘Z’ number of times, the simple formula for the contract is that the company has to provide XYZ units of delicious, juicy chicken and fresh, crisp samosas. This means that irrespective of how full the train is running, how many people order the IRCTC lunches and dinners, the packages get loaded in the same massive numbers, day in and day out. After all you wouldn’t want taxpayers’ money being frittered away on petty luxuries like having a Management Information System to make the ordering more efficient. And to whose benefit would that be anyway?

As you would imagine, every journey ends with dirty compartments and dirtier pantry cars. With so much food having nowhere to go, the smart catering guys sell it to food stall owners just outside the destination stations at dirt cheap rates. But the quantity of wastage is so massive that even that only skims the surface of the problem. So they dump it on the tracks—usually at a station just before their final destination. The wastage obviously just blends into its surroundings.

Back in Varanasi, Radha’s plan was simple—buy the packages off the catering guys and sell them to the millions of devotees heading to the ghats and looking to get the beggars off their backs. Assume a ball park average of 500 packages left over after every train reaches its destination. The caterers were hitherto managing to sell about 50 packages at 30 bucks each. Radha’s plan was to take all the packages off their hands at a blanket price of 5000 bucks and then appealing to the good sense of the devout pilgrims to invest 20 bucks per package and buy themselves some much desired freedom from guilt. If one combines the two railway stations in the vicinity—Varanasi and Mughal Sarai—there were easily 500 trains culminating here per week; a cool crore to be made per month in gross profits.


All time score

Why do you think are we not investing in a more efficient MIS to make our ordering more accurate and reduce wastage?

  • a. Because of the inaction of the railway authorities
  • b. Because the food contractor’s profit is being maximised so as to get kickbacks from him
  • c. Because the cost of disposing the wastage is zero and the cost of setting up an MIS is high
  • d. Because trains almost always run full in India and hence there is no need for data on occupancy

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This passage was created by Kunj Sanghvi : Kunj Sanghvi is the author of two books – the first one, Side Upper, is a series of short stories from across India and the second one, Pehla Kadam, is a unique Bollywood-themed personal finance guide.

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