New Delhi: Have you ever thought why the blankets in Indian trains stink at times? It is because they are washed only once in two months.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour on Friday that while bedsheets, bed roll and pillow covers are washed every day whereas the blankets are washed once in every two months.
He said this while answering the questions raised by various members of the Upper House regarding the quality and hygiene of laundry and linen supplied by the Indian Railways on trains.
Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari said that the earlier system of passengers bringing their own linen and pillows for train journeys seems to be better. The Chairman view was supported by a Congress MP who asked the minister if this might be allowed in future.
In response, Sinha said it was a 'good advice' and that the Indian Railways will surely have no problem if the passengers adopt this earlier practice of getting their own blanket while travelling.
The Minister pointed out that while they have 41 mechanised laundries, plans are underway to increase their number by 25 more in the next two years so that these can serve about 85 per cent of the passengers who use Railway linen and bed sheets.
Defending Sinha's statement, the Indian Railways said blankets cannot be washed every day, which is why an extra bed sheet is provided to every passenger to cover it.
A Ministry official said blankets are 'sanitized' every 15 days to kill germs and odour.
Meanwhile, Northern Railways said that they are already providing blanket cover in AC-1 coaches in all trains.
Recently, the Indian Railways has started a bedroll takeaway scheme under which a passenger can book a kit online — Rs 110 for a blanket, or Rs 140 for two bed sheets and a pillow — and take it home after the journey.
(With PTI inputs)