Economic Times has reported CAG audit found dirty linens were supplied to passengers of Indian Railways. I am not surprised and most passenger of Indian Railways will not be surprised as well. In India bed rolls etc are given typically only in AC compartments. One may also avail them in sleeper class compartments by paying an amount to the handlers. More or less I had good experience while traveling in train. But it did happen a few times, where I found stains on pillow cover or bed sheet. Passengers are duly charged for this services while purchasing the ticket.
But on all occasions I found the handlers asking for tips towards the end of the journey when they come to collect the bed rolls etc. When it is tips any amount from passenger should be accepted happily but in many cases they will insist on more. There are also another set of people who clean the coach and they claim to be a different time and they will also ask for tips. Once I told I have already given to the bed roll guys. He told me they wont give us and they are separate team. To put it simply, Indian Railways is a service company and its sole job it to serve the passengers well who traveling on board. All services like pantry, bed rolls, cleaning etc are outsourced to private parties but the service they provide are just like tokenism. I am not against services being outsources to private parties and believe it is not government’s job to cook food in train’s pantries. But it is definitely government’s job to make sure that passenger get good and hygienic food, bed rolls are clean & sanitized and the coach is clean. Normally the cleaners spray disinfectants two times a day in the train compartments during travel. Even then I have found cockroach one time. Cockroaches are rampant in sleeper class coaches.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit report was placed in the parliament last Friday. The report said the railways do not follow the norms it itself set for washing linens. It says more than half of shelf life of linens pass even before they reach the passenger. It said bedsheets has a life cycle of 12 months but they remain utilized in depots for months. I feel at times may been given to passenger for usage after its life cycle. Indian railways has a lot of catch up to do to be truly called good service company. See the tons of complaints on Complaintboard.in.