Month on, AC passengers still await bedrolls in trains

Updated on Apr 25, 2022 01:44 AM IST

In March, after the decline of the third Covid wave, Northern Railways had directed officials to immediately resume bedroll services, and passengers booking their seats were also apprised of the same through text messages

Despite resumption of bedroll services in air-conditioned sleeper trains after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, passengers are still not being provided bedsheets or blankets in most trains. (Representative Image/ Shutterstock)
Despite resumption of bedroll services in air-conditioned sleeper trains after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, passengers are still not being provided bedsheets or blankets in most trains. (Representative Image/ Shutterstock)
By, Ludhiana

Despite resumption of bedroll services in air-conditioned sleeper trains after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, passengers are still not being provided bedsheets or blankets in most trains.

In March, after the decline of the third Covid wave, Northern Railways had directed officials to immediately resume bedroll services, and passengers booking their seats were also apprised of the same through text messages. A bedroll comprises two bedsheets, a pillow, a towel and a blanket.

An irate passenger, Sidharth Sharma of Haibowal Kalan, who could not get a wink of sleep in his chilly AC compartment said, “I boarded the Kolkata–Jammu Tawi Express from Ludhiana, but it was an unpleasant experience as we were not provided bedrolls. When I had booked my ticket, I received a message saying that a bedroll will be provided, so I did not bring my own blanket.”

Sharma is not alone, the official Twitter handle of the Indian Railways has also been bombarded with passenger complaints regarding non availability of bedrolls.

A Twitter user, Bijoy Mishra, wrote, “The railways disposed of all old bedrolls, but did not procure new ones before announcing resumption of service. Tendering, procurement and supply of huge quantities takes time. It will take at least take them a year to provide bedrolls.”

Another Twitter handle, Award Anshuman, slammed the railways for making false promises for a month. “Railways authorities have been saying they will resume bedroll services soon,” he said.

A security officer at the Ludhiana station said, “Since bedrolls are not being provided, passengers have to travel with extra luggage.”

However, Ferozepur divisional railway manager (DRM) Seema Sharma claimed that the bed roll service has already been restored in 70% of trains. “Our staff has been working hard to provide the amenity to passengers. Of the 20 primary trains with AC compartments, the facility has been resumed in 13 trains.”

“Since linen had been stored in godowns for two years, it was essential to clean, disinfect and dry clean the material before providing it to passengers. There was some wear and tear as well so we decided to procure fresh linen. New bed rolls will soon be made available in the remaining trains,”she added.

A senior railway official, on condition of anonymity, said it was the duty of the base centre of the train to load bedrolls for passengers. “If a train is owned by the Kolkata base, then it is their responsibility. Since Ludhiana is just a passing station for a train going to Kolkata, passengers will only get a bedroll, if the railways staff in Kolkata load it. If the train is owned by Ferozepur Division, then the bedroll will be provided by Jammu, Katra or Amritsar base stations.”

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022
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