Passengers may not get blankets, pillows, hand towels and sheets in the Indian Railways' air-conditioned coaches even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, The Indian Express reported, quoting senior Railway officials.
"We are moving in that direction," a senior Railway Ministry official told the newspaper. Three top officials also confirmed this development to the newspaper.
Sources told the newspaper that a committee is being formed to take a decision on the merchandised mega laundries, which were built to wash the linen. The Railways spends, on an average, Rs 40-50 for washing each linen set with about 18 lakh linen sets in circulation at present.
The report stated that the linen sets have been a cause pf passenger complaints, with questions regarding them being raised in Parliament as well. Officials reasoned that with temperature control settings in AC coaches the need for blankets could be eliminated.
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"Currently, we are not offering linen because of the COVID-19 situation. When the situation normalises, all these decisions will be up for review. It is hypothetical to say anything else at this point," a Railway Ministry spokesperson told the newspaper.The report quotes sources also said that the practice of not serving food on trains might also remain in place for some time after the pandemic ends, and some railway divisions have also started discussions with packaged food manufacturers and suppliers for long-term contracts.