Kochi: Passengers arriving at the Ernakulam Junction railway station will have to wait longer for having food at affordable rates from within the station. There is no sign of the Vegetable Refreshment Room (VRR), closed down back on May 4 after tenure of contractor 'CKK Catering Services' expired, reopening in the near future as commuters have to depend on the "costly" restaurant run by Casino Air Caterers and Flight Services.
The contractor failed to pay nearly Rs 28 lakh to the railways for the space additionally used by it. The re-tendering process got delayed after the railways insisted on getting back the amount from the security deposit while the former moved court to get his deposit back.
"The contractor utilised additional space than was actually allotted in running the restaurant and promised to pay for the same. However, he defaulted," said railway sources.
While the IRCTC wanted to auction assets of the contractor, the railways wanted to settle the dues from the deposit. With the contractor moving the court, the process of retendering got delayed.
However, the IRCTC promises to open the VRR in another two months. "The dues will be settled soon out of the security deposit. We've already started process for retendering. Open tenders will be floated nationwide invited agencies to bid for a total of 18 VRR units across Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Salem divisions. The process will be completed in another two months," a senior IRCTC official said.
Presently, passengers have to depend on the CAFS restaurant which charges almost double the price that was levied in the VRR.
"While a tea costs just Rs five and coffee Rs 10 in VRR, the same cost Rs 20 and Rs 30 respectively in the other restaurant. Though the quality is good, the prices are too high as far as we're concerned," said R Vijayan, a passenger....