Amritsar, December 8
Janta Khana which has seven ‘puris’ (175 gm), cooked vegetable (Aloo ki sabzi 150 gm) and one green chilly has failed to find a space among burgers, pastries and black forest cakes being sold at vends on the Amritsar railway station.
Over five months ago, the Ferozepur Division directed Railways’ vendors and the IRCTC to sell Janata Khana at Rs 15 per packet, but it is not yet available at the city railway station. Vendors said as the price of food packet was only Rs 15, it was not economically viable to provide it as the cooking cost was quite high.
However, vendors managed to display Janta Khana packets at their respective vends on the day of inspection to avoid official harassment. Vendors, on condition of not being named, said the price offered to prepare hygienic and healthy meals was too low. As per fire safety regulations, they cannot install gas stoves at vends on platforms. They are permitted to use only microwave ovens or other electric-run appliances to warm already cooked eatables.
They said, “We are given power at Rs 12.07 per unit to operate appliances and other electrical items. The cost of ingredients for preparing food is high. The selling price of food packets is quite low.”
“All vendors are tenants of the Railways. They pay licence fee with 18 per cent GST to the Railways. After every three years, the licence fee is revised at least by 10 per cent. All these factors put together increase the operating cost manifold,” they asserted. They alleged that officials often asked them to display Janta Khana packets and other items at vends, failing which they would be penalised.
Similar was the case of Rail Neer (Bottled drinking water), vendors said. “The Railways is supplying them one litre bottle of Rail Neer at Rs 10.50 while leading brands are offering them a drinking water bottle of same size at Rs 8.33. Each water bottle of all brands is sold to passengers at Rs 15.”
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