Passengers passing through Sealdah station can now enjoy affordable meals at a swanky 1,911 square feet two-storey joint run by a major food chain of the city under the aegis of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The unique food court was inaugurated on Thursday in the presence of senior IRCTC and Eastern Railway (ER) officials.
“It was a challenge for us. The space in the south section of the station was encroached by some illegal occupants. We had never expected that it would turn out so good in the end. Pre-fabricated structures were used to construct the two-storey building. The company that finally agreed to build this food court also took up the challenge and decided to create something unique. Passengers can enjoy all kinds of vegetarian meals and snacks there,” said Debasish Chandra, group general manager (east), IRCTC. The food court came up after the railway authorities realised the demands of nearly two million passengers using Sealdah station daily. Most of them are suburban passengers who may stop for a quick bite while long-distance passengers can stay longer for a meal before starting their journey. Passengers of the trains like the Darjeeling Mail and Padatik Express, which don’t have on-board catering facilities, also needed a proper place to pick up dinner. A major concern was pricing and the vendor was convinced to keep rates down.
“As this is a unique venture, the company doesn’t want to look only at profits. They have offered food at ‘factory prices’. There are also some interesting offers for packaged items sold on the ground floor. We have ensured safety and hygiene. The first floor is for diners. The food is not cooked at the station to prevent fires, rather it’s brought there by the vendor from its kitchens elsewhere. Only heating is allowed. Quality of food will also be checked routinely,” said another IRCTC official.
Source: Times of India