No more blankets in AC coaches after CAG report

By Agency Published on Jul 30, 2017 03:05 PM IST

New Delhi: Days after CAG in its report slammed Railways over cleanliness and hygiene in trains as well as platforms, the ministry is reportedly planning to discontinue providing blankets to the passengers in AC coaches in some trains.

An official said that from current 19 degree, the railways will maintain the temperature at 24 degree celsius on trial basis so that the don’t shiver without blankets.

According to 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.

In a scathing report, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had said, "The food sold at railway stations is unfit for human consumption and the hygiene standards at railway catering units are below par."

It was found that in 14 selected depots, under nine zonal railways, no blankets had been dry washed in the said period. And except for seven depots under five zonal railways, linens had not been sanitised in the other selected depots, the CAG had said.

The report was prepared after inspections at 74 stations and 80 trains, covering the period from 2013 to 2016 and issues of earlier years which could not be reported earlier.

The report also said there were general stores depots which stored fresh linens along with those that were to be discarded.

At the Basin Bridge depot in Chennai, pillow covers were being stitched from the used bedsheets to tide over shortages. In a few cases, in the Northern Railway, used pillow covers were provided to the passengers, the report said.

The audit report said there was a need for the railways to increase the pace of setting up of mechanised laundries and prescribe norms for quality standards for washed linen.

A mechanism may be put in place to ensure strict compliance to norms of cleaning blankets and pillows as per required periodicity, it said.

The CAG also said that at many storage depots, fresh linen was stored haphazardly and was exposed to dirt and contamination.

"Proper storage space may be provided for storage of linen in store depots, so that linen can be issued in an organised manner," it recommended. It has also advocated providing adequate storage space for linen in coaching depots.