New Delhi: Indian Railways to provide new material blankets in AC coaches, wash them frequently! In order to enhance cleanliness, Indian Railways has decided to stop the existing practice of washing the blankets once in two months. Now onwards, the railways has decided to wash the blankets for AC coaches twice a month. Also, the national transporter has changed the material to make it washable-friendly, states a report from IANS. As the washing frequency will be increased, the service life of the blankets will be reduced from the existing 4 years to 2 years. However, it is expected that the pricing is going to be almost double. As per the revised specifications, the new material of the blankets for AC passengers will be a mix of nylon and woollen.
As per the order issued by the railways to all zones, the new blankets with revised specifications should be washed two times in one month, subject to available capacity as well as logistics arrangements, the report states. Moreover, washing should be done at least once in a month in case of capacity constraints. The order further stated that washing frequency and life of blankets with revised specifications may be examined further after around one year. Also, before giving the blankets for further use, they will be sanitized on a regular basis.At present, the heavy woollen blankets in use cost nearly Rs 400. Now, with the change of the material, new pricing will be decided shortly, said a senior official of Railway Ministry quoted in the report. As in the last 10 years, the pricing of the blankets has not been revised, the new ones are expected to cost more than the existing rate, he said.
According to the official, one of the main priorities of the railways is to provide washed blankets along with fresh linen to passengers in trains for each journey. The official also claimed that for the improvement of linen management to arrange clean, good quality as well as hygienic linen to passengers in AC classes, efforts are on.
At present, around 3.90 lakh blankets are required by the national transporter for its AC passengers across the nation. While a changed blanket is provided to AC first class passengers after every use, the same facility is not provided to AC second class and AC third class passengers. Moreover, every day, around 3.90 lakh sets are provided for each passenger travelling in AC classes, including bedsheets, a towel, blanket and pillow.
To cater to the increased requirement of daily washing of bedrolls including blankets, the national transporter has also undertaken steps to set up state-of-the-art mechanised laundries at many railway stations. At the moment, there are around 50 mechanised laundries and soon, 10 more will be set up.
Recently, a CAG report has highlighted that the unhygienic condition of blankets was caused because of not washing them for up to six months, even though the directive is to wash the blankets in every one or two months.
Indian Railways, which was flooded with complaints regarding dirty blankets, was forced to come up with a solution in order to increase the washing frequency of the blankets and replace the existing ones with the new ones.