Railway-approved eatery remains closed for three months

Passengers using Tirunelveli railway junction have been deprived of the chance to buy quality food as the eatery approved by the Southern Railway remains closed for the past three months even though it is ready for formal inauguration after refurbishment.

Every day around 50,000 passengers use the junction which is served by 70 trains, including weekly services. The restaurant at the junction remains closed since February though the new contractor renovated it and kept it ready for inauguration.

Exploiting this situation, the vendors make good money by selling substandard food to the passengers. At a time when the station is handling a large volume of crowd ever since summer vacation started, the passengers are forced to buy food either from these vendors or from the eateries outside.

“A travelling passenger cannot get out of the railway junction for buying food and get back in time. Women with infants babies suffer a lot since they need hot water,” said N. Balasubramanian who commutes between Nagercoil and Tirunelveli every day.

When the jawans of the Central Forces deployed in the district during the recently-held Lok Sabha polls travelled to other places as part of their assignment, food packets supplied by a local supplier were given to them and not from the restaurant at the railway junction.

Admitting that the functioning of a restaurant at any railway junction is paramount for the passengers’ welfare, Divisional Railway Manager A.K. Rastogi said the delay was owing to the contractor’s failure to pay the mandatory deposit before the stipulated period. “Anyway, we’ve forwarded the proposal for the inauguration of the restaurant to the headquarters and we expect a positive reply within a week or so. Hence, the restaurant will be inaugurated shortly,” said Mr. Rastogi.

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