Dirty and unhygienic blankets in air-conditioned compartments of trains may soon become a thing of the past, as the Railways has decided to provide blankets with covers.
As a pilot move, Lucknow division of the Northern Railway (NR) would provide blankets in covers in the first AC coaches of the trains that originate from the division. “If it turns out to be feasible, the plan would be extended to other AC coaches of the originating trains of the division,” said senior DCM, Lucknow, NR Ashwini Srivastava. The blankets should be washed every 30 days. It could be in practice also, but the issue of cleanliness and hygiene is what confronts railways everyday. The blankets in covers could do away with it.
Railways would provide it in two colours, light blue and light pink. While the blankets to be provided in the forward trip of the train would be of one colour, the return trip would have blanket covers of the other colour. “It might be done in a month,” said the official.The railways staff would put the blankets in covers before providing them to the passengers. The covers would be washed everyday like linen and pillow covers. The officials accept that it would be easy to provide blanket covers in the limited number of coaches, but as the plan gets extended to all the AC coaches of the train, it would require a concerted effort to ensure that the blanket covers are washed and passengers don’t complain that they are dirty. The dirty linen has been a nagging problem for railways. In Lucknow division alone, around 7,000 bed sheets get washed daily.
But passengers still complain of being provided crumpled and dirty bed sheets and pillow covers. To do away with the dirty pillow covers, Railways is toying with the idea to provide disposable pillow covers of woven fabric. Even the linen might be provided in woven fabric bags which would be collected back from passengers after journey. As of now, Railways is working on the economics of the idea.