Date:13/07/2003 URL:

Southern States - Kerala-Thiruvananthapuram

Multi-cuisine food plazas in 5 rly. stations

By S. Anil Radhakrishnan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM July 12. As part of its efforts to offer multi-cuisine food to the commuters and the public, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will set up modern food plazas in five major railway stations in the State.

The plazas are to come up at the Thiruvananthapuram Central, Ernakulam North, South and Thrissur railway stations of the Thiruvananthapuram railway division and Shoranur of the Palakkad division under the Built-Operate-Lease-Transfer (BOLT) basis.

The food plazas in Thiruvananthapuram have been entrusted to Royal India Marketing, that of Ernakulam North, South and Shoranur railway stations to the Thrissur-based, Hotel Highway, and that of Thrissur railway station to the Kozhikode-based, Arenco Caterers.

The menu will feature all food items except pork and beef. The plazas will also be liqour-free zones. The charges for the food and snacks to be served in the air-conditioned restaurants will be on the higher side.

As in Chennai, where the food plazas have become popular among the railway commuters and the public, the different units of the food plaza could be run jointly by bakery and hotel chains.

In the Thiruvananthapuram central railway station, the 1,250 sq. ft. double-storeyed food plaza will to be set up behind the Arya Bhavan hotel that had been closed down. The entry will be only from the railway platform side, as the authorities are planning a budget hotel on the highway side.

The food plaza at the Ernakulam North will have a floor area of 1,100 sq. ft. and will be set up near the vegetarian restaurant that was functioning in platform one. The two-storeyed 3,540 sq. ft. food plaza at the Ernakulam south railway station will come up near the old railway building near the flyover.

The 1,830 sq. ft. food plaza in the Thrissur railway station is coming up on the premises where the old vegetarian restaurant was functioning. In Shoranur, the food plaza will have a floor area of 3,100 sq. ft. Work for the food plaza in Thrissur is in an advanced stage and will be completed by September and that in the central station here by the year end, the Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager, K. K. Srivastava, told The Hindu.

The plaza is being set up at an estimated cost of Rs. 70 lakhs in Ernakulam South, Rs. 50 lakhs in Ernakulam North, Rs. 35-40 lakhs in Thiruvananthapuram, Rs. 20 lakhs each in Thrissur and Shoranur.

To ensure quality and high standards of food, the IRCTC has insisted that only those with a turnover of Rs. 1 crore in the food and beverages business should bid for the food plaza.

The plazas can be sublet to groups with a turnover of Rs. 50 lakhs.

Railway sources said the construction plans of the plazas had been cleared by the engineering wing of the Railway Headquarters on behalf of the IRCTC, which is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Railways.

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