Using Swiss Challenge to spice up Railway Stations

Railways to cash in on Onam through 40 stalls

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The innovative Swiss Challenge mode has been resorted to by Railways in the State to “create value and revenue” for identified unused railway space in four key railway stations.

Swiss Challenge, a way to award a project to a private player on an unsolicited proposal, is already being used by Railways for the development of 400-odd railway stations in the country.

The railways are wooing private players — reputed individuals, firms, societies, NGOs, and companies — for setting up temporary kiosk/stalls on the premises of Thiruvananthapuram Central, second entry on Power House road of the central station, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam Junction, and Ernakulam Town for exhibition-cum-sales for 10-30 days.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager V.C. Sudhiesh Kumar told that the private players who would win the bids floated by Railways would be allowed to set up “pleasing and aesthetic kiosks” or stalls for 30 days from August 16 to exhibit and sell handicrafts, flowers, traditional and other clothes, electronic items, crockery items, decorative items at market rates.

No items made available at the station platform stalls/shops such as catering items would be permitted in these makeshift kiosks. Light and other electrical requirements would have to be met by the licensee and the use of loud speaker would be banned.

Already, Mr. Sudhiesh Kumar said many were coming forward to set up 20 kioks on the six railway station premises. Three stalls were being planned in Thiruvananthapuram Central and second entry, two each in Chengannur and Kottayam, and five each in Ernakulam Junciton and Ernakulam Town railway stations.

The places were identified taking into consideration the easy accessibility of the railway commuters and the public. Care had been taken to ensure that the commuters, especially those who rush at the last minute to the railway stations, were not disturbed in any way by these kioks.

Depending on the success of the initiative during Onam season, Railways would further explore the use of unutilised spaces for longer periods. Railways was looking forward to put to use the Swiss Challenge mode during festive seasons like Vishu, Christmas and the Mandala-Makaravilakky pilgrimage season in Sabarimala.