Rail stalls to down shutters in protest
Your regular joint for that hot samosa at the railway station could be shut for a couple of days, reports Shashank Rao.mumbai Updated: Oct 31, 2009 01:29 IST
Your regular joint for that hot samosa at the railway station could be shut for a couple of days.
Owners of at least 450 stalls at railway stations in Mumbai will down shutters from Friday to protest against a directive by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) to hand over their shops to new IRCTC-appointed contractors.
The IRCTC, which looks after catering and canteens on trains and stations, has decided to take control of railway food stalls across India to standardise the quality and prices of food items being sold here.
The agency has selected new contractors and has set November 1 as the deadline to take over the stalls.
The Indian Railway Catering Association (IRCA) will oppose the move by closing at least 800 stalls between Churchgate and Surat and from CST to Karjat, Kasara and beyond.
A case is pending in the Supreme Court and even the Railway Ministry has stayed the process.
IRCA officials say action should not be taken. “Union Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered not to disturb small contractors running tea and food stalls at stations,” said Chief of IRCA, Ashok Shah. “They are reviewing the 2005 policy on food contractors which will be decided by the Rail Board in a month.”
A meeting will be held in New Delhi on Saturday to decide the matter.
The IRCTC has meanwhile arranged for snacks to be sold at its 40 stalls in Mumbai.
The agency has alleged that small contractors do not maintain stalls well. The IRCA refuted this saying there have hardly been any complaints about quality of food at their stalls.
Meetings are on between the two agencies in New Delhi. The IRCTC has asked IRCA to submit its demands in writing.