INDORE: Days after the Railways announced that massage services will be made available to passengers on board running trains, BJP MP from Indore, Shankar Lalwani, has questioned the move, terming it as "standardless".
The newly-elected MP has written a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on June 10, expressing his reservations on the move.
In the letter, he has said that it would not be appropriate to provide massage to passengers, especially in the presence of fellow women travellers.
As per the plan, the massage facility will be made available in 39 trains departing from Indore, including Dehradun-Indore Express (14317), New Delhi-Indore Intercity Express (12416) and Indore-Amritsar Express (19325).
"I am surprised that considering the norms of the Indian culture, will it be appropriate to provide massage services on running trains, especially in the presence of women? "In my opinion, providing this kind of standardless service, instead of making available essential medical facilities and doctors to passengers during the rail travel does not serve any purpose," Lalwani said in the letter, which has been circulated on social media.
Talking to PTI over his letter, he said, "Members of some local women's organisations and social bodies met me recently. I have written the letter to the railway minister based on the suggestions given by them. People are of the view that the railway should give priority to providing new medical facilities to the passengers. They are of the opinion that the massage service can be provided on board the trains going to tourist places, but the railway authorities should do a rethink about providing massage facility to the general passenger trains," the BJP leader said.
Meanwhile, Ratlam Railway Divisional Manager (DRM) R N Sunkar clarified that under the plan, passengers would not get a full body massage.
"Only head and foot massage will be provided. The service will be offered between 6 am and 10 pm. Depending on the package, the passengers will be charged Rs 100, Rs 200 or Rs 300," he said.
"We will examine all the aspects before launching the facility. We will ensure that it does not cause any inconvenience and makes passengers uncomfortable," the DRM added.
The railway administration has signed a deal with a private agency to offer the massage facility, Sunkar said, adding that the move aims to earn annual revenue of Rs 20 lakh to the railways.
Besides, people who provide massage facility to the passengers on running trains would buy 20,000 rail tickets, which would give an earning of Rs 90 lakh to the railways, he added.