Vendors of stalls on railway platforms are defaulting on payments claiming the fee is too steep and earnings are too low
Hot samosas and tea on platforms might just become a pleasant memory with Mumbai railway authorities deciding to clamp down on stall vendors defaulting on licence fees or rents.
Vendors attached to Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) have been defaulting on payments, to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore prompting the railway board to order sealing all stalls until the amount is cleared.
Vendors have been defaulting on payments to the railways amounting to Rs 3.5 crore
In 2005 IRCTC was given the contract on an annual rent of Rs 2.5 crore for 144 stalls on platforms across Mumbai.
Stalls are contracted to vendors by IRCTC, which in turn pays a fee to the railways. Vendors feel that the fee is too steep and sales are too low. The total amount due to IRCTC is Rs 3.5 crore.
According to vendors, the licence fee was increased after IRCTC took over the project.
"I have four stalls at different stations and now I have a debt of Rs 16 lakh to pay. Following the railways* decision, IRCTC has been chalking out a plan to recover its dues.
Vendors have also complained to senior authorities of IRCTC about the steep licence fee and talks are onu00a0 between railway authorities and IRCTC.
"We will form a committee to monitor sales at stalls for 3 days, following which we will consider an appropriate figure," said a senior official and member of the recovery committee.
He added, "Failure to pay the adjusted amount would mean closure of the stall."
Z A Siddiqui, Chief Commercial Manager, Central Railway, said, "The fee is being calculated according to their sales and stall location, and we are confident that we will be able to recover the amount."
The board formed on July 21, 2010, decided to terminate IRCTC*s contract, which had begun just two years ago.
Virendra Singh, Group General Manager (IRCTC) confirmed this saying, "Yes, many vendors have not paid their licence fees in spite of repeated warning.
We had also taken action against them but we could not recover the amount. We have forwarded details of the due amount to railways."