After reports of dirty blankets being used in trains hit the headlines, the Indian Railways has planned to increased the frequency of washing blankets and replace the existing ones with designer, lightweight blankets in a phased manner.
According to a PTI report, the used blankets would be sanitised on a regular basis before being given for further use.
Though the directive is to wash the blankets every one or two months, a CAG report had recently highlighted the unhygienic condition of blankets which were not washed for even six months. However, smelly blankets may soon become a thing of past on trains.
The National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFT) has been roped in by the Indian railways to design lightweight blankets with less wool content. A trial of ‘thin, cold washable blankets’ is also being carried out in the Central Railway zone as a pilot project.
“Our aim is to provide washed blankets along with fresh linen in trains for each journey,” said a senior railway ministry official in the housekeeping directorate who is involved in the task, stated the PTI report.
Currently about 3.90 lakh sets of linen are provided per day comprising two bedsheets, a towel, pillow and blanket for each passenger in AC classes. The plan envisages increasing the frequencies of washing of blankets to begin with and replacing the existing ones with the newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric in a phased manner.
The process of changing the cover of blankets has already started in some sections while frequency of washing is being increased from monthly to fortnightly and weekly, said a railways official.
Video Courtesy: YouTube
Railways had recently held a meeting on linen management which was attended by various stakeholders including mechanised laundry operators, suppliers of cleaning chemicals, linen suppliers and senior railway officers. It was decided to implement the plan for improvement of linen management with aim of providing clean, hygienic and good quality linen to passengers travelling in AC classes.
Preparations are are being made to introduce lightweight blankets made of soft fabric and these will be washed after every use, the official said.
There are about 50 mechanised laundries operational at the moment and ten more will be opened shortly.
–With PTI inputs