If you have ever visited the Jan Ahaar Cafeteria at Mumbai Central station and faced the heat thanks to the non-functional airconditioning system, you are not alone. It has been learnt that since the inauguration of the cafeteria in 2011, the system has been functional only for brief periods.
Sources claimed that this has caused a dip in the number of commuters to the outlet by about 50 per cent. The cafeteria was inaugurated on January 26, 2011, with an aim to provide low-cost meals to commuters in an air-conditioned atmosphere. Though the system worked fine for a week or so after the inauguration, it has needed repairs every now and then.
A Western Railway (WR) official said, “We are serving food without the air-conditioner. We have been receiving complaints from the passengers on a regular basis either to start the AC or lower the rates.”
Though the system was repaired in the month of April before the union railway minister visited the city, it stopped working on the fourth day and has remained so ever since. “People prefer eating at outlets next to ours due to the defunct AC,” an official said.
Officials claimed that despite writing to senior railway officials of the Jan Ahaar management to repair the AC, nothing has been done so far.
Plenty of problems
Apart from the defunct AC, poorly maintained tables and chairs and unaffordable meals were some of the other complaints commuters registered with the authorities regularly.
“Passengers suffer due to the poor furniture at the outlet and the employees literally beg for their forgiveness,” the official said, adding that their problems would compound if more such cafeterias were to come up at other stations. The Central Railway (CR) inaugurated a Jan Ahaar Cafeteria at CST on March 3.
If officials from the WR and the CR are to be believed, then the cafeterias are not making profits as expected. A railway official said, “We are trying our best, but somewhere we fail to provide customers with a satisfactory experience.”
When contacted, Ity Pandey, senior divisional commercial manager of Mumbai Division for WR, said that better cooling systems were required at the cafeterias, considering the number of times the doors are opened and closed, and the fact that cooking done inside.
January 26, 2011
The date on which the air-conditioned cafeteria was inaugurated at Mumbai Central station