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Third food plaza on track

- Outlet to cater to passengers on platform No. 10 from next year

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) would open its third food plaza at Patna Junction by March next year. It would come up on platform No. 10.

A senior officer at the IRCTC regional office, Patna, said: “Indian Railways has given the go-ahead to the project. IRCTC will open one more food plaza on platform No. 10.”

Only passenger trains — that travel within Bihar — arrive at and depart from platform No. 10. At the Karbigahiya end of the station, around 50 pairs of trains pass through the platform daily. The passengers, at present, have no option for refreshments while waiting for their trains.

At present, IRCTC runs two food plazas at Patna Junction — one on platform No. 1 and another on the first floor of the railway station.

On the reason for opening the new plaza, the IRCTC officer said: “A number of passenger trains pass through platform No. 10 but there are no food stalls to meet the passengers’ demands.”

He said: “The trains that halt at platform No. 10 depart within 10 minutes or less. It is not possible for the passengers to visit platform No. 1, place their order and collect food within such a short span of time. Commuters take at least eight to 12 minutes to cover the distance between the two platforms. By the time the passengers would return to platform No. 10 with the food, their trains would depart. To avoid this, the railways have taken the initiative to open one more food plaza.”

He also said: “Platform No. 10 is open to only passenger trains but in coming days, it would also be used for express trains. So, with the future in mind, the proposed food plaza would increase the revenue of the Indian Railways.”

Once the new food plaza is up and running, passengers would be able to enjoy at least 25 varieties of food, including non-vegetarian dishes.

The officer said: “Most of the things for the plaza have been finalised. The food plaza would be 1,500sqft. I think it would be ready before Holi next year. Chinese, south Indian, Bihari cuisines would be available at the plaza. The passengers would also have the option to eat at the plaza or take away.”

Holi is tentatively on March 27 next year.

He added: “The railways are committed to provide hygienic and quality food to people. The dishes will be hygienic, healthy and safe for the passengers. In a nutshell, standard food would be served to the passengers at standard rate.”

Apart from the food plazas, present and future, IRCTC runs Jan Aahar, the 24-hour food outlet that offers quality items at a subsidised rate. There is a Jan Aahar on platform No. 1 of Patna Junction. It was started in 2010.