Passengers refrain from using Railway Blankets
The report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) shows that blankets are stocked in unclean warehouses and are neither washed nor maintained well.
Bangalore, Nov17’ 2022
The blankets provided by the Indian Railways were meant to be sanitized on a regular basis before being given for next use. Still, passengers complain that the blankets are greasy and smelly. The blankets are not even washed once in six months.
Geeta Taneja, a passenger who was traveling from Bangalore to Delhi said, “I have myself filed complaints, this is the major problem in trains, I too found the bed sheets are also dirty but the blankets are smelly, I cannot use blankets directly, I bring my own sheet to
cover the blankets, and then only I can use them. I know they are not washed daily.”
Though the revised 2019 guidelines of Railways say that the blankets will be drycleaned twice in one month but the blankets went unwashed for over two years, CAG found.
Raju, a worker in the carriage laundry department, “Bedsheets are washed daily but not blankets. Blankets are washed sometimes very rarely. Blankets are very heavy they cannot be washed daily.”
According to CAG, Currently, there are approximately 3.90 lakh sets of bed rolls including blankets supplied to trains per day. The blankets are not washed daily as the life of the blankets will be reduced to two years. After each use the blankets are segregated and sent to the warehouse for storage, then the blankets are reused without sanitization.
The NE railways decided to change the material of blankets from woolen to nylon to improve efficiency but it is 45 percent expensive. In addition, its weight will also be reduced to 450grams from two kilos.
The sets of linen provided per day comprising two bedsheets, a towel, a pillow, and a blanket for each passenger in the express trains
A senior section Engineer North Eastern Railways, Sukra Lohra, “Blankets are not washed, blankets are drycleaned, we can’t dry-clean blankets daily, it’s a woolen item we can’t wash them, they will get damaged. We will get new blankets made of new material we can wash them not these woollen blankets. ”
The Indian railways get complaints regarding the dirty blankets. According to experts, dirty blankets could be a risk and cause the spread of skin diseases like scabies.
Dr. Ananth Ram, an Assistant Professor and a Public Health Specialist, “It should be non-negotiable, the blankets have to be washed after every use, otherwise, it can lead to dust allergies, eczema, or other skin diseases, they all are Contagious. The cost of stringent laundry procedures, in the whole process, is much lower than the health impact that it leaves on the people. Mitigating all these health
outcomes must be given more priority than the operating costs.”
It is a challenge for railways to wash the blankets regularly, Experts say the railways can use the same material for the blankets as the bed linen.
Keywords– Indian Railways, blankets, bed linen, trains
Tags– Indian railways, trains, stations, blankets, bed rolls