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Railways may soon stop providing blankets in AC coaches. Here's why

Railways may soon stop providing blankets in AC coaches. Here's why”

Indian Railways will discontinue providing blankets in their air-conditioned (AC) coaches after an inspection from the Comptroller Accounts General (CAG). The temperature in the AC compartments until now was set at 19-degree Celsius but now Railways will maintain a temperature of 24 degrees.

According to the reports, the move to do away with blankets would be more cost-effective as it takes Rs 55 to clean the bedroll while passengers are charged just Rs 22 for it.

A CAG audit report on the catering services tabled in Parliament had observed that Indian Railways are serving food that was "unfit" for humans. And except for seven depots under five zonal railways, linens had not been sanitised in the other selected depots, the CAG had said. Passengers have also frequently complained about dirty linens and smelly blankets in AC coaches. Railways had recently held a meeting on linen management which was attended by various stakeholders including mechanised laundry operators, suppliers of cleaning chemicals, linen suppliers and senior railway officers.

Railway guidelines clearly state that the blankets were to be cleaned every one to two months, which was clearly not being followed, which is the reason behind the flooding of complaints about the same.

The CAG officials noted that railway officials were not able to handle the load and washing contact had to be given to vendors. Also, there was no quality control for the washing through departmental mechanized laundries.

A Business Standard report, over the weekend, had suggested the railways could do away with blankets altogether as the costs of getting the laundry cleaned was not economical, as also monitoring hygiene standards for the linen was hard due to absence of quality checks at departmental mechanised laundries.



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