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Food Plazas at MRTS Stations

An Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation plan to build food plazas or fast food joints at MRTS stations in the city to cash in on the increased patronage has been stuck due to red tapism in Southern Railway, say officials.

The IRCTC is authorized to set up multi-brand food plaza and fast food units at railway stations, but the order allowing railway zones to set up food stalls at railway stations has now affected plans for MRTS stations.

The IRCTC had identified Tiruvanmiyur, Tirumailai and Velachery stations ideal for food plazas or fast food joints but the proposal is yet to be cleared. "We have been approaching Southern Railway since 2005. More than 3,000 sq ft of space on the ground floor of the Tiruvanmiyur station is vacant. A multi-brand fast food unit here could do roaring business as a large number of IT professionals use the station. Employees of Tidel park can also cross the road to enjoy a meal," said an IRCTC official.

The Southern Railway general manager and the divisional railway manager had given their nod long ago, but the commercial wing is objecting.

"Prime space at the MRTS stations goes waste because the railways is neither taking steps to set up food stalls nor is it allowing us to proceed with our proposal," he added.

IRCTC is now pitching again. At a pre-bid meeting to brief catering industry representatives about tenders to set up food plazas at Tambaram East, Bangalore, Krishnarajapuram, Belgaum and Vasco, IRCTC regional director V Sriram said "We plan to set up food plazas or fast food units at MRTS stations."

"MRTS will be our next focus area. Some stations, in prime locations, have a large amount of space to develop food plazas. In Tirumylai and Tiruvanmiyur we have to work out the location of food units in such a way that non-commuters can also drop in to eat or buy take-away food," he said.

The multi-brand food plaza at the Chennai Beach suburban station, he said, was a huge success as it was patronized by commuters and non-commuters. "It does sales of 1.5 lakh a day, including around 600 meals during lunch," he added.

Southern Railway chief public relations officer V J Accamma said the "Railway budget presented by then minister Mamata Bannerjee says railways can set up food stalls at railway stations."