According to the RTI reply, since independence, over 30 firms or individuals have been running multiple stalls in their names and Central Railway has never invited fresh tender for various stalls on platforms across Mumbai
Year after year, over 30 firms or individuals are continuously running their 24x7 stalls on platforms across stations in Mumbai since the Central Railway (CR) has never invited fresh tenders for the profitable business, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI).
The RTI was filed by West Bengal-based Ritesh Singh. While the CR has provided details about contractors who are running stall for food & catering (canteen), medicines, books, fruits and other miscellaneous items, a similar RTI is still pending with the Western Railway.
There are about 200 stalls on platforms in CR's Mumbai division. However, according to the reply, between January 1961 and December 2011, over 30 firms or individuals were operating all these stalls. Here are the names of these contractors, excluding Mahanand Dairy, the state-government backed milk co-operative and Catering Vendor Co-operative Society, which are neither firms not individuals.
Name no of stalls stations
1. Balan Natural Pvt Ltd 5 Masjid, Mulund, Panvel, Badlapur, Karjat
2. Surya Foods & Agro Ltd 4 Byculla, Byculla, Dombivali, Kasara
3. Balram Sharma 2 Ghatkopar, Vikhroli
4. SA Pai 2 both at Kalyan Junction
5. M/s Ghanshyamdas & Sons 3 Masjid Road, Sandhurst Road, KCE
6. M/s Chantulal & Sons 4 Matunga, Kurla Junction (three)
7. M/s CK Gupta & Co 4 all at Byculla
8. M/s MP Sahani & Co 4 all at Mulund
9. M/s KN Solunki & Brithers 6 all 6 stalls at Thane
10. M/s Gupta Broth 3 all 3 stalls at Thane
11. M/s NB Enterprises 1+2 kiosks all at Thane
12. M/s Pessumal & Co 2 both at Dockyard Road
13. M/s NK Kalyankar & Sons 2 both at Reay Road
14. M/s Surprakash & Brothers 2 both at Sewri
15. M/s RS Goyal & Sons 2 both at Wadala Road
16. M/s SB Gupta & sons 2 Govandi, Mankhurd
17. M/s RB enterprises 1+2 kiosks all at Dombivali
18. M/s SH Jondhale 2 both at Dombivali
19. M/s AK Irani & Co. 2 both at Kalyan Junction
20. M/s Shri US Diwadkar 4 all at Kalyan Junction
21. M/s MK Kashyap Ent. 2 both at Kalyan Junction
22. M/s Badlmal Giyanumal & Sons3 Ulhasnagar, Ambivali, Vangani
23. M/s Shri Udhavdas Ratanlal 2 both at Ambarnath
24. M/s YS Diwadkar 2 Neral Junction, Karjat
25. NG Mukadam 1 Titwala
26. DS Bedi 1 Shahad
27. M/s Sirumal Sevaram & Sons 1 Kalyan Junction
28. Pradip Kanagali 1 Kalyan Junction
There are four firms or persons who are awarded more than one book stall.
1. CB Pingle 2 Sion and GTB Nagar
2. SK Thatle & sons 2 Vidyavihar and Kanjurmarg
3. Jaycee News agency 2 Vitthalvadi and Ulhasnagar
4. Tribhuvan Tiwari 2 both at Dockyard Road
Although the stalls are allotted to these chosen contractors, they may not be running it in person. Several such stalls are given on sub-let basis that often runs in to several lakh of rupees and the operator is shown as manager on paper.
When Singh asked if there was any stay order from any court that prevents the CR from inviting fresh tenders, the RTI reply says there was no case.
Another interesting aspect is the list does not have names like AH Wheeler & Co and Higginbothams, which till 2004 were had a monopoly in book stalls on railway platforms across the country, except Southern Railway and part of South Central Railway zones. In 2004, it had bookstores in 258 railway stations and used to contribute to about 80% of the revenues earned by the Indian Railways from book sales.
Following the new book policy adopted by the Railways in 2004, AH Wheeler lost its monopoly.