The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has announced plans to set up within six months 29 food plazas and five fast food units at railway stations including Andheri, Masjid, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Wadala Road and Panvel. By March-end, a food court will be opened at Mumbai Central.
At a press conference on Friday, IRCTC officials also said that the corporation was diversifying and will have food plazas on highways, and at malls, offices and even clubs.
Tenders for 28 food plazas and 30 fast food units will soon be invited.
Virender Singh, group general manager, IRCTC, west zone, said at the conference that the first Bharat Tirth special tourist train, which would pick passengers from Maharashtra, will start on March 3 from Pune. The Mumbai pickup point is Kalyan.
The trains are an upgraded version of the Bharat Darshan trains and will have a deluxe component in the form of air-conditioned coaches. Each train will have 12 coaches, including seven sleeper class ones with a capacity of 70 each, and two III AC ones with a capacity of 64 each. The trip would cost Rs 5,650 per person for 10 nights and 11 days, the train passing through Ujjain, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Vashnodevi and Pushkar. The fare includes the cost of meals.
The IRCTC is also examining the feasibility of running steam engines in the Neral-Matheran section.
It already runs package tours in the tourist destination. They have also set up kiosks at CST and Mumbai Central where facilitators help users with information on IRCTC like packages.
"There were suggestions to start a train with comforts as the Bharat Darshan is a budgeted trip where passengers stay in Daramshalas," he said. In 2009-10 IRCTC ran 16 Bharat Darshan trips which grew to 17 till January this fiscal.
Singh also spoke about starting Mumbai Darshans via road. This he said would have an itenary which even a local would like to explore. "The cost of the day trip by an ac bus would be lesser than Rs 500. Right now the modalities are being worked out- where we would buy the bus or rent one- but we are looking at destinations like Elephanta caves, Hanging gardens, Essel world, pagodas etc," he said. Initially they are looking at having these trips on the weekends and then look at the response.
Source - Times of India