NEW DELHI : A number of issues has forced the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to close down snack shops at stations across the national capital region.
While shops that have already been leased out will be allowed to operate until their contracts expire, the spaces will not be leased out again. However, the DMRC has decided to go easy on food courts and small cafes because they meet the prescribed hygiene requirements.
A DMRC official said – “A survey recently revealed that snack shops were inhibiting passenger movement and giving rise to unhygienic conditions at metro stations. Apart from being an aesthetic issue, the leftover food from these snack shops attracts rats that – at times – even nibble on signalling wires”.
Most of the existing snack shops were let out on a three-year contract that cannot be terminated midway. “But once the contracts have expired, we will not renew them,” the official said.
He claimed that a number of outlets were situated at inconvenient spots, which causes congestion. “We can’t have that anymore. Metro ridership has increased significantly in the last few years, and we have started prioritising passenger comfort over commercial activity,” the official added.
Some stations where authorities have already relocated snack shops to spaces outside the main area are HUDA City Centre, Noida City Centre, Chawri Bazar and Laxmi Nagar, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi Station, Botanical Garden.
Property development is a major source of revenue for the DMRC, which provides spaces on rent. At centrally located stations, where the demand is particularly huge, metro authorities let out stalls for commercial activities at the platform and concourse levels too. However, an internal analysis by the DMRC revealed that a substantial amount of space – sufficient for constructing 1,000 shops – is lying unused at metro stations across its rail network.
Metro authorities say that while commercial space gets acquired quickly in central and south Delhi, they have had to lower the rent to attract investors in areas that have little scope for property development.
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