Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will set up 13 food plazas and 9 fast food units in Southern Railway, in association with private players, in the second phase of its programme.

In the first phase, it commissioned 13 food plazas in the South Zone, including Chennai Central, Egmore, Beach, Park, Madurai, Tiruchi and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

In the second phase food plazas will be opened at Katpadi, Tambaram, Salem and Thanjavur, and fast food units at Ambur, Coimbatore, and Arakonam in Tamil Nadu.

Rapid food centres

Addressing reporters here on Thursday, South Zone Group General Manager V. Sriram said the Corporation was contemplating rapid food centres at select suburban stations between Tambaram and Beach, excluding the two stations.

The process of identifying the stations in consultation with Southern Railway was on. Subsequently, similar rapid food centres would be opened in the Chennai Mooremarket Complex-Arakkonam and MMC-Gummudipundi sections.

Stations of the Mass Rapid transit System would also get food plazas and joints.

The Corporation was planning to start food plazas in Velacheri, Tiruvanmiyur and Tirumaylai stations.

A centralised kitchen would be set up at Chennai Central for catering to passengers on moving trains.

Tourism packages

The Corporation was offering customised tourism packages to suit customers’ budget. The South Zone earned Rs. 30 lakh last month through such packages. Following the good response to the tourism facilitation centre at Chennai Central, the Corporation had decided to open 11 more centres, including at Thanjavur, Madurai, Tiruchi, and Coimbatore.

The response to e-ticketing and internet booking was increasing. About 65,000 tickets were being booked everyday at the all-India level, of which 12,000 were from the South Zone. However, response to ATMs in stations for ticket booking was lukewarm.

Enquiry service

The recently launched centralised enquiry service (telephone no 139) was extremely popular and received around 30,000 calls a day.

At present the facility was available on BSNL landlines. It would be extended to mobile telephones.