New Delhi: Bringing back the nostalgia of buying local wares from hawkers and gorging on regional cuisines, the Railways will now allow vendors to sell their goods on trains, as part of its efforts to boost local businesses.
The Railways will also provide them with designer carts and kiosks to sell their wares at stations and on trains.
As part of the “One Station One Product’ policy announced this year in the Union budget, the Railways aim to promote a local product at each railway station.
Earlier, hawkers used to board trains at stations selling local products, mostly food items to passengers. However, they were illegal and raised both safety and hygiene concerns. The Railways conducted large-scale eviction drives which eventually made them a rarity on board trains and even at stations.
Now, however, the variety on offer would range from food products to handicrafts to household goods to decorative items and would be sold with the permission of the national transporter.
This is not all.
To ensure that the platforms on which the vendors sell their goods are not crowded with carts hampering passenger movement, the Railways has tied up with the Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Design, which has designed kiosks on wheels having different compartments to hold varied products and built-in areas to store additional goods. The design even has areas where products can be displayed.
Presently, only IRCTC-approved vendors are allowed to sell goods on stations and trains.
Taking the concept further of vendors selling local wares at stations, they will also have permission to board trains and travel up to one station to offer their goods to passengers on board.
“The plan is to get in touch with local business associations and offer them a chance to take up places at railway platforms to sell local products, be it handicrafts, food, clothes. Each vendor will have to pay a fee of Rs 1,500 each and they can sell their wares for 15 days, after which the space will be replaced by another vendor. These vendors can also travel in trains and sell their products by travelling up to one station on board,” an official said.
A test run on over 78 stations has seen a per day earning of Rs 5,000 for vendors under this policy, the official said.
So, passengers travelling on trains can now savour jalebi and shrikhand, dhokla and fafda as they pass through Ahmedabad, puri aloo at Mughalsarai station, dosa at Davangere railway station and purchase Molkalmuru sarees, buy spice and copra products at Arsikere; purchase coffee in Hassan and Channapatana toys at Srirangapatna.
By Ananya Sengupta