New Delhi ,May 19
Passengers travelling on air-conditioned coaches of Indian Railways will soon have lighter and printed Dohar or muslin wraps with state-specific designs printed on them instead of woolen blankets, said a railway official.
This comes after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) July 2017 report rapped the railways for dirty blankets. Following the criticism, in April 2018, the railway changed the specification and started planning to move towards lighter blankets.
“Every state has some specialty when it comes to blankets. For instance, the Mahabodhi Express might have blanket with Buddha printed on it and Telangana Express might havelocal specialty and Rajasthan is famous for Jaipuri razayi. We have issued directions to zonal railways to purchase Dohar keeping in mind the local touch,” said Rajesh Aggarwal, member (rolling stock) of the railway board. Aggarwal said the process of placing orders for the new wraps has been started, and in a few months, new blanket will start replacing the old one.
“However, few woolen blankets in every coach will be available on demand basis in case passenger feels cold. The staff on board the train is asked to maintain the temperature in a way that passenger is not required woolen blanket,” said another railway official.
“Maintenance of woolen blanket is an issue for us and once it is replaced with a muslin one, which can be cleaned easily, we will preferably wash it on every usage,” said another official.
The CAG had collected data on number of blankets in use and those washed during the review (2012-2013 to 2015-2016) period in 33 selected depots of coaches.
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.
Last year, the Railways had issued specifications instructing that the blankets be washed twice a month instead of existing practice of once in two months. As per the specifications, the material for the blankets was also to be changed to a washable-friendly material.