The next time you are served a smelly towel or a stained bedsheet on long-distance trains, you will no longer have to hunt for someone to complain to.
The paper wrapper of the linen sets will double as complaint forms, with mobile numbers and email IDs of officials who can fix your problem.
The project, which started on Wednesday for trains leaving Anand Vihar rail station in east Delhi, has the potential of being extended to other stations also.
Northern Railways have now outsourced the end-to-end management of linen on trains in a way that the company given the task of washing the stuff will also deploy uniformed men in each compartment to distribute them and also act as customer-care executives.
The “linen men” are part of the team of 63 executives deployed by a private firm hired to do the washing at a new facility at the new Anand Vihar terminal and do the follow-on work.
“We have done away with the practice of deploying railway officials for receiving, storing and distributing linen packets on trains. This job has been outsourced to ease the whole process,” said JK Singh, senior divisional mechanical engineer (carriage and wagon), Delhi Division, Northern Railway.
“The linen managers on board have been asked to collect every empty paper pack and encourage passengers to fill up the forms for suggestions, so that the vendor knows what he is doing wrong.”
The new facility, located at the Patparganj Industrial Area in east Delhi and run by Kolkata-based firm Kushal Group, can handle 8,000 sets of linen a day, but as of now it is washing around 2,500 sets because that is the amount adequate for the number of trains leaving Anand Vihar.
Including the Bhagalpur Garib Rath and Kathgodam Express, the new terminal sends off seven long-distance trains, mostly east-bound, and they will be serviced by this facility.
The new facility is highly mechanised with very little human intervention required in the cleaning process. The linen are washed with sterilising chemicals and in temperatures upwards of 100 degree celsius to make them bacteria-free.
“We also wash in steam for maximum results,” said a company official. The Delhi Division maintains 73 long-distance trains, of which it supplies linen to 33 trains a day.