Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Food at rly station is an instant success

Food at rly station is an instant success
S Lalitha, Bangalore, Dec 14, DHNS:

The skyrocketing food prices seem to have been halted at the gates of the City railway station.

Prices of dishes at all the catering stalls in the City railway station have either taken a dive or remained stable, thanks to the `Janata Khana’ introduced recently.

The Railway Minister, in her budget speech this year had assured that wholesome food would be available to passengers at Rs10, at all major railway stations in the country. Pune, Mumbai and New Delhi had launched it as early as August and the stations under the Bangalore Division began offering them since the beginning of this month. “Janata Khana” at `Janata Ahaar’, an exclusive catering stall for Janata khana items on the joint platform of Seven and Eight of the City Railway Station has become quite popular within the few days that it has been around.

Most food stalls display the announcement, “Janata Khana available here.” The price of five puris with sabji used to be as sold at Rs 15 earlier. “The Janata Khana scheme has increased the number to seven and brought down the cost to Rs 10,” informs an employee at one of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) outlets. “Passengers are quite happy,” he adds. This happens to be the most sought-after item. Rice items like Tamarind rice, curd rice and lemon rice are supplied at Rs 11. The price of two idlis with a vada is at Rs 12 while upma with one vada costs Rs. 11.

Manjunath, a teacher and regular commuter between Hubli and Bangalore says the cheaper price had not made any difference to the food. “The prices are quite economical but the railway catering staff are yet to learn to be customer-friendly.”

Satish and his wife were having food before boarding their train to Mysore. “Food at railway station is really affordable for anyone and the government deserves praise,” Satish says.

Employees at the exclusive `Jan Ahaar’ outlet state that it was very difficult to make profits since the items are heavily subsidised. “We are also selling water bottles, newspapers and snacks to ensure that we are able to break even,” he says.

Chief Regional Manager of IRCTC, South Western Railway Division, S Gagarin says that the exclusive outlet was very popular with passengers. “They are demanding seating capacity too. We will shortly be setting up an air-conditioned room above the stall with a seating capacity for 30 people,” he informed.


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