Beware of the blankets and linen the railways provide you. They are not washed often enough, and may be in use well after they should have been disposed of.
Out of more than 9,000 blankets used in trains at the Mumbai Central depot of WR, only an average 117 blankets are washed every month at Bandra terminus. The situation in the CR is not much better than WR, as out of 8,431 blankets only 520 and 320 were washed in the month of Feburary and March 2012 respectively at Wadibunder depot.
These facts came to light in a quality audit performed by the research design and standardisation organisation (RDSO), the research and development wing of the Indian Railway. These quality audits took place during March and April at Mumbai Central, Bandra Terminus, Wadibunder and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) depots of CR and WR.
According to railway norms, face towels should not be used for more than a period of 9 months. But at Mumbai Central, the RDSO team found only 21,650 face towels were condemned in 2011-12 instead of 1.3 lakh. Only 23,435 bed sheets were condemned in 2011-12 though 1.23 lakh had to be condemned.
Railway passengers complain about the poor quality of linen provided in trains. "Recently we were travelling in the Udaipur-Mumbai superfast express from Udaipur. The bed sheets and other items provided weren't properly washed. We asked for replacements, but they were just as bad. We did not use them," J Rajendra, an IT professional.
Railway provides blankets and linen for air-conditioned compartments of long distance trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto express trains.
An ear, nose and throat specialist said: "They (passengers) can suffer from cold and cough, chest infection and fever because the AC compartment can spread bacteria very fast."
Also, despite railway guidelines to get commuter feedback, no such system is in place, the report says.