To improve customer services the Indian Railways has put out purchase order of over 15 lakh bedroll items including bed sheets, towels, blankets and pillow covers to restore complete linen service in 1,114 pairs of trains.
It has to procure a total of 1,528,447 bed linen items worth about Rs 80 crore including 224,456 pillow covers, 473,591 handloom bed sheets, 92,743 handloom blankets, 29,124 Turkish bath towels and 1,36,118 handloom face towels among other items, Indian Railways sources said.
Though there is a provision to procure mill based linen in addition to khadi and handloom, the current order is only for KVIC only. The second lot of about four lakh linens are slated to be procured from mills.
With the easing out of Covid-19 situation, restrictions on the provision of linen in trains were withdrawn on 10 March, this year. However, the disruption in the supply chain of bed roll items during the last two years due to the Covid-19 crisis has created a challenging situation for the railways.
The railways has only 40 per cent of usable stocks available, so there is a need for procuring additional stock to cater to the demand for the entire fleet, the sources said.
With the existing stock, linen distribution has started in 387 pairs of trains till now, and the fresh stock is expected to come in the next two months, according to the sources.
Besides linens, the railways has started restoration and re-commissioning of laundries also.
Since distribution and washing contracts including laundry operation were discontinued, now all-out efforts have been made for restarting the laundry service. There are 58 departmental laundries and 19 laundries privately managed, and to be operational shortly to cater to the requirement.
Besides linens, 1,086 trains have been provided with curtains, which were also discontinued in the AC trains due to Covid.