CHENNAI: At Egmore, a bookstall is within the reach of passengers, but not a pharmacy. If one needs medicine, one must go outside the station to purchase it. But soon, passengers will be able to purchase essential non-catering items, such as medicines and milk powder, from an all under one roof facility at major railway stations, including Egmore.
Multi-Purpose Stalls (MPS) acting as a single outlet was mooted in the railway budget in 2016-17. The idea is to help passengers to buy items required during the travel without difficulty. At present, railway stations do not cater to this need. At Central, the city’s busiest railway terminal, the travelling public has no access to a pharmacy, a situation prevailing for years.
To address this, the railway board has recently framed a ‘Multi-Purpose Stall’ policy. Some of the items permitted to be sold in these stalls are packaged drinking water, books, magazines, railway time-table and over the counter medicines. Significantly, the stall will also sell artifacts and items of local and regional importance, while books pertaining to Indian culture and history are also to be sold. Confirming the development, a senior Southern Railway official told Express that a blueprint for the stall is ready.
“All divisions have been asked to assess the station requirement for MPS. It will depend on factors such as station congestion and footfalls,” the officer said. The MPS policy will be on the lines of the new railway catering policy under which licences (for a fixed term of five years) will be issued only through a tender. Earlier, there have been instances of awarding licences based on applications. “The assessment is being done now. We will be calling for tenders shortly,” the officer said.