Few takers for railway’s dirt cheap ‘janata khana’

‘Janata khana’ of railways is more popular among non-passengers than passengers at Indore railway station, going by buying of so few food packets. Hardly 40 packets are sold from the railway canteen daily. Even out of this measly number, many are not passengers.

The 350-gm food packet, sold at a nominal rate of Rs 15, failed to become popular among passengers and canteen owners are making no profit. Anil Jain, who runs the railway canteen, told they prepare around 60 packets of food each day. Of these, nearly 35-40 are consumed.

Jain told auto-rickshaw and van drivers regularly buy packet-friendly meal and many times they end up distributing packets among destitute in night. “At times we are left with so many unsold packets that we have to give these to beggars outside the station. Despite good quality food being served, passengers do not buy. At the platform number 1, due to metre gauge trains running, we don’t get many buyers,” Jain added.

At platform number 4 and 5 where most express trains arrive also have few takers while on platform number one meter guage. Jain tells most express trains either start journey or arrive here at the station. Given the situation, passengers simply do not buy.

“We are running it on no-profit-no-loss basis and unlike in many other stations, where it is successful, ‘janata food’ has failed to click in Indore. Auto drivers and shopkeepers outside station find it as a best deal for daytime meal.”