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Railways Snatch Management of Book Stalls

 In yet another blow, the railways have decided to snatch one more function from Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) - take over management ofbook stalls operational on station platforms. The fresh move may further clip the wings of railways PSU, which had lost its primary job of providing catering services in trains and stations.

The bookstalls will now be managed by zonal railways which will leave the PSU with the task of booking online tickets only. "The railways have decided that the management and operation of bookstalls handed over to IRCTC in 2007 will be taken back on 'as is where is basis'," said a senior official.

The railway PSU was given the task in 2007 to infuse professionalism in management and operations of bookstalls and to put a check on sale of objectionable and banned books which were allegedly placed on the shelves of the stalls at the platforms.

The corporation was supposed to manage the stalls and provide standard books to the passengers and visitors at the stations. IRCTC and railways were sharing the license fee in the ratio of 75:25 respectively. The U-turn in railways' policy indicates that IRCTC, which felled out of favour of Mamata Banerjee in her second inning as railway minister, continue to loose one by one function assigned when it was formed.

As minister, Banerjee snatched IRCTC's major function - catering services in trains and stations during her tenure. Though, IRCTC was earning Rs 2.5 crore from the license fee, the move left many surprised.