Affordable Janata Khana available at 8 RLY stations in Ferozepur district

Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, May 4th

The shelves of eateries at Amritsar Railway Station now have space for pizzas, burgers, black forest cakes and pastries for the affordable Janata Khana. Almost a year after issuing a circular asking all vendors selling food and beverages at railway stations to offer Janata Khana, the Ferozepur division has ensured that economy meals are sold.

A Rs 15 Janata Khana packet contains 175 grams of puri (seven puri), 150 grams of vegetables (aroo di sabzi) and pickles. Another option is available for Rs 20 which includes a 300 ml water bottle in the ready-to-eat Janata Khana. Apart from this, arrangements for preparing economy meals are being made by designated departments of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation.

According to railway officials, the Janata Khana will operate at Jammu Tawi railway station, Amritsar railway station, Ludhiana railway station, Pathankot railway station, Jalandhar city railway station, Jalandhar Cantt railway station, Shaheed Captain Tushar Mahajan railway station in Udhampur and Ferozepur railway station. It is said that it can be used by passengers at Cantt station. Besides food, passengers can also purchase other foods from vending machines at train stations.

Vendors said it was not economically viable to sell the food for just Rs 15 due to the high cost of cooking. They recalled when Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee launched Janata Khana at Rs 10 per packet while presenting the railway budget for 2009-10. After a gap of about 14 years, the railway authorities have restarted Janata Khana with a hike of just Rs 5 per packet. They argued that the price increase was not enough as cooking with LPG stoves was already prohibited at railway stations. In such a situation, puris and vegetables had to be arranged from outside, increasing input costs. They tried to reasonably increase the cost per packet to make this plan a success.

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