CHENNAI: In about six months from now, long-distance passengers and daily commuters at the Tambaram station can eat multi-cuisine food at both the entrances courtesy two food plazas, whose construction started recently.
The plazas, the contract for which was given by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) last year to a Salem-based caterer, will occupy 15,000 square feet. There are 190 operational food plazas across the country, 40 of which are in the southern zone. The Tambaram facility, say officials, will be the largest of its kind in any station across the country. Railways will earn Rs 3.6 crores per annum for 12 years from the contractor. Prominent local as well as international restaurant chains will tie up to open stalls here, IRCTC officials said.
IRCTC officials said the Tambaram plaza was a strategic project, given that the station is being developed as Chennai's third terminal station after Central and Egmore. Presently all express trains to southern districts, as well as weekly trains to other parts of the country, stop at Tambaram. Officials said when the station is developed into a full-fledged terminal around two years later, a number of new trains will be introduced, benefiting commuters living in densely-populated southern suburbs nearby.
"Footfalls at the station are currently around 1.5 lakh per day and it will double when it becomes a terminal," a senior railway official said. At present, the station has no major food stall selling variety of food options unlike those at Central and Egmore which have vegetarian and non-vegetarian refreshment stalls, food courts where reputed chains operate.
Though the model of the Tambaram food plaza will be similar to those at Central and Egmore, N Gopinathan, chief project consultant for J S Caterers, the contractor, said they would rope in international fast food chains which are not operational in the existing plazas. This too is a strategic move as there are a number of educational institutions in and around Tambaram. Students from these colleges are regular commuters on the suburban network for which Tambaram is a terminating station, said an official.
The structure on the GST side of the station will have three floors abutting the main building and a concourse area at the entrance, showed an official plan document of the plaza. While the ground floor will be for takeaways, the first floor will have a vegetarian restaurant that can seat 150 people. The second floor will have non-vegetarian food of Indian or Chinese cuisine and can accommodate 100 customers. The structure on the eastern entrance will have two floors with a similar arrangement of takeaway, juice, ice cream and fast food on ground floor, and vegetarian and non-vegetarian dining on the first floor. Smaller in size, the dining section here will accommodate 40 people in each section.
Source : The Times Of India