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Linen shortage on trains: Some material damaged during Covid years, some used for masks

Railways has placed orders for over 15 lakh bedroll items including bedsheets, towels, blankets and pillow covers to make up for the losses and restore the linen services fully.

Published: 18th May 2022 09:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2022 09:46 PM   |  A+A-

A total of 82 train services will resume operations and these services will spread over the entire network of the South Central Railways. 

Representational Image (File photo| PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Railways is struggling to provide linen to passengers even two months after announcing the restoration of the facility, with officials saying 60 per cent of the stock was damaged during the Covid years and a significant amount went into making masks.

The officials said the railways has placed orders for over 15 lakh bedroll items including bedsheets, towels, blankets and pillow covers to make up for the losses and restore the linen services fully.

With the Covid-related restrictions largely lifted, the Railways had on March 10 said the linen facility would be restored in trains in a phased manner.

However, it has not been restored in full even more than two months after the announcement.

Sources said the facility was available in 1,114 pairs of trains before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but now it is being provided only in 520 pairs.

While 1,308 trains were provided with curtains in the compartment before Covid, currently, they are available in 1,225 trains.

The officials said the coronavirus crisis resulted in a major disruption in the supply chain over the last two years.

Earlier, linen provided on board trains was sourced from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), now they have empowered Divisional Railway Mangers in the zones to procure the linen from mills.

The Railways needs around 7.5 lakh packets of such linen set daily which comprise bedsheets, pillow case, blanket and hand towels.

As of now, only around half of this is available, the officials said.

Around 60 per cent of the stock that the Railways had from over the last two years has been damaged and a significant amount has already been used to make masks, they said.

Even the 70 laundries that the Railways used to clean their linens at need overhauling and the national transporter has already started restoration and re-commissioning them, the officials said.

They said the railways has to procure a total of 15,28,447 bed linen items, including 2,24,456 pillow covers, 4,73,591 handloom bed sheets, 92,743 handloom blankets, 29,124 bath towels and 1,36,118 handloom face towels among other items.

Passengers have complained they are not informed about the train where they will get the linen set, leaving them confused and guessing.

After being inundated with queries about the same, the Railways now sends messages to passengers after they book a ticket, informing them about the availability of linen on board.

The Railways also sends a link listing the trains where the supply of linen has been restored.



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