It has been more than three months since the food plaza at Central station was closed and the delay in opening it anew has caused the passengers to make do with the one Jan Aahar canteen and a few other shops selling food packets. With a footfall of more than four lakh passengers in a day, there is a severe crunch in places where people can eat. This is attributed to the delay in approvals by Southern Railway and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) according to TOI.
The food plaza that was closed in February due to their contract running out saw a whopping 50,000 customers every day. Since the closing, there haven’t been many options for passengers who prefer branded food over the subsidized fare that is available in the railway canteens. Adding to the deficiency of food availability, this has also put a massive strain on the Jan Aahar counter which is not designed to meet such a huge demand.
The small plaza that was open till February had a biriyani stall on the first floor and a store selling branded coffee and savories on the ground floor. To replace this plaza with a new one before summer, IRCTC floated a tender months in advance and awarded the contract to Travel Food Services Ltd (TFSL) last December. TOI reports railway sources saying that there was a lot of back and forth between TFSL, Chennai division of Southern Railway and IRCTC, where the Chennai Division wanted a few changes in the plan proposed by the contractor.
“We have not yet received a final plan from the contractor,” said Naveen Gulati, Divisional railway manager to TOI, attributing the delays to the minor changes the division had wanted and added that they have given approval to revisions. The sooner the new food plaza is set up, the more convenient it will be for passengers.