Southern Railway will set up laundries at major stations to improve the quality of bedrolls supplied to passengers.
The 12-tonne capacity laundries are being established under the Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) scheme. To start with, they will come up in Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
The facility will be extended to other major stations in the zone in a phased manner, General Manager (Southern Railway) Deepak Krishan told TheHindu on Monday.
Admitting there were several complaints from passengers about the poor quality of bedrolls, he said steps had been taken to rectify the shortcomings.
Senior officers were monitoring the quality of wash of bedrolls and supply system on trains.
(Bedrolls are supplied free of cost by the Railways to passengers in air-conditioned coaches.
For those travelling in First Class and Sleeper Class coaches, Rs.20 is charged per bedroll. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials had conducted surprise checks on seven trains departing from Chennai a couple of days ago and said many passengers complained of dirty linen.)
On allegations of irregularities in the allotment of berths under the Emergency Quota, Mr. Krishan said instructions were in place to ensure there was no deviation of protocol.
“It has been our constant endeavour to keep touts and travel agents away from EQ system. There is a possibility for misuse…our vigilance organisation is keeping a close watch.”
Chief Mechanical Engineer V. Carmelus said the fully automatic machines of world class standards were being procured for the laundries. The contractors would utilise the facility for ten years and then transfer it to the Railways.
In Chennai, the laundry was being established at Basin Bridge.
On the progress of investigation in the surprise check conducted on trains, a senior CBI official said a special team had been formed to check the EQ requisition forms.
“We will verify who had given the requisition, whether passengers who got their waitlisted ticket confirmed under EQ were entitled to avail themselves of the facility, the guidelines with regard to allotment and violations, if any. If it turns out to be an organised crime, we will register a case and investigate. The CBI will be writing to the Railway Board in this regard.”