Famous book stalls at Indian Railways stations to be history soon? Here’s what is being planned
In order to decongest Indian Railways stations, the Railway Board has formulated a policy to remove AH Wheelers book stalls, a report says. However, the plan is being opposed by the iconic institution as it has flagged several discrepancies, states a Mumbai Mirror report. As per the policy, the Railway Board wants the conversion of all exclusive stalls, including the old Wheelers, into multi-purpose stalls (MSPs) that will require them to begin selling everything from books, newspapers, magazines to other items such as packaged drinking water, biscuits, chips, medicines, milk powder among other products. Recently, a letter to that effect was sent to the Central Railway zone, directing them to implement the policy.
According to a senior Central Railway official, who was quoted in the report, the aim of this policy is to reduce the number of stalls in order to decongest the railway stations across Mumbai. He further said that at present, there are many independent stalls, selling medicines, some selling books and some selling edible items, therefore, all these items can be sold under one roof. However, he added that there are certain inconsistencies in the policy for which they have asked for an clarity from the Railway Board.Read more ↓
The policy has been opposed by the stall owners, stating that it would accrue heavy losses to their businesses. One of the clauses in the policy, according to the report, is that a single company cannot run more than 10 MSPs in one railway zone. However, there are about 18 AH Wheeler stalls at present on the suburban network of Central Railway alone. Meanwhile, an official said that as per the policy, the remaining stalls owned by AH Wheelers will have to shut down from the station platforms once their existing contract is over. So, they have been asked to iron out issues like these, he added.
At present, Wheelers pay only 5% of its annual turnover to the national transporter. But under the new guidelines, they will be required to pay at least 12% of their estimated sale turnover, the report said.