Mumbai: WR to demolish food stalls for more space on platforms

Authorities feel reducing stalls on the suburban rail section will give commuters more room to walk during peak hours

What does one wish for especially during peak hours, at congested suburban railway stations? A clear way to walk. This might just be possible in 2015 as Western Railway (WR) authorities are looking at demolishing several food stalls on platforms to make more space to walk.

Stalls such as this one at Bandra station swarmed by flies won’t be seen. This is because the WR will also call for bidders to renovate existing stalls. File pic
Stalls such as this one at Bandra station swarmed by flies won’t be seen. This is because the WR will also call for bidders to renovate existing stalls. File pic

There are 544 stalls in the Mumbai division — which goes right up to Surat in Gujarat — of which around 288 food stalls are in the suburban rail section between Churchgate and Dahanu. “We are looking at reducing the total number of food stalls to 140 in the Mumbai suburban section,” said a WR official.

This would mean that well over 140 food stalls across Mumbai suburban section will be demolished; thereby creating more space on platforms to walk. These stalls are operated privately on contract. Sources said that the removal would help faster movement of commuters out of the railway stations.

“The priority of passengers is to catch a train and reach their destination on time. With fewer food stalls, we will be able to achieve it,” said another WR official.

In January 2015, the WR authorities will call for new bidders who will renovate food stalls that will be sleeker and colourful. “The nitty gritties haven’t been decided yet,” said a WR official. However, before this, the existing ones will be demolished.

Quality food
In the first phase, around 30 stations where the demolition of old stalls will be carried out, will be identified. Most of these stalls are nearly 40 years old and as per Railway Board’s recent directive, the old ones will be replaced. Tenders are expected to be called very soon for the same. Officials said that they also want quality of food to improve in the future though the catering will remain the same for now.

At major stations, the food stalls will be set up at identified places, while there won’t be any at least 20 feet near the foot overbridges (FOBs) or under them.

Presently take away food like samosas, bhel and vada pav is sold, while biscuits and cold drinks etc by manufacturers, is sold on MRP. The quality of water supplied is often doubted although RO water purifiers are installed at the food stalls. There are book and newspaper stands as well at these stations.

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