Indian Railways will discontinue providing blankets in their air-conditioned (AC) coaches after an inspection from the Comptroller Accounts General (CAG) criticised it on cleanliness and hygiene, according to a Business Standard report.
Instead, the Railways is set to increase the average temperature of AC coaches from the current 19 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius.
"Cleaning blankets and bedrolls is costly. While the Railways is spending Rs 55 for cleaning bedroll, we are charging travellers only Rs 22. Hence, removing blankets on trains will prove to be economical,” said an official.
According to the CAG report, the bedrolls were not being washed every one to two months as stipulated by guidelines. This was because the railways could not handle the load of linens and resorted to outsourcing the cleaning of the bedrolls. Also, there was the lack of quality control for the washing.
The report had said "A robust system for procurement, washing and distribution of linen is necessary to provide clean, hygienic, well-ironed and good quality linen to all passengers travelling in AC classes of the Indian Railway”.
Although Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu directed the use disposable bedrolls in 2016, it is yet to implemented everywhere. Passengers have also frequently complained about dirty linens and smelly blankets in AC coaches.