Khadi Commission seeks payment for Rs 39 crore linen after railways cancels
The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has written to the railway ministry seeking payment for orders worth Rs 39.25 crore for the supply of linen after the national carrier cancelled the orders.
The Khadi body said non-payment for the linen orders, which were designed especially with Indian Railways’ logo, would lead to an “irreparable loss”.
This comes in the backdrop of the national carrier’s decision to end supply of linen, including bedsheets and pillow covers, to passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid disease.
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena, in a letter written to Railway Board CEO VK Yadav on September 15, said that Khadi India had received orders worth Rs 39.25 crore from the Railways to provide linen to railways across several zones for production of polyvastra bedsheet, pillow covers, towels and other textile products printed with the name of respective railway zones with their logo and manufacturing date that are ready for delivery. HT has reviewed the letter.
“It was brought to my notice that in a few cases, material was delivered to the consignee but R-Note was not issued. In some cases, the material is ready for delivery but the Railways have extended the delivery period to the next financial year. Surprisingly, in some cases, material is ready for delivery but Railways have cancelled the order as these Khadi items have been manufactured especially for the Railways with their logo and manufacturing date. KVIC is left with no other option of marketing the same to any other party. If such huge orders worth Rs 39.25 crore are cancelled or refused to honor, our Khadi artisans and institutions will suffer irreparable loss,” the letter said.
The KVIC urged the national carrier to consider the “efforts and struggles of spinners, weavers and other artisans associated with the work... you are requested to issue necessary directions to honour all previous orders and accept the supplies.”
As per current norms, the Indian Railways procures various khadi items like bedsheets, pillow covers and hand towels for passengers from the KVIC on a single tender basis. Railways ministry officials say the requirement of linen dipped since only a limited number of special passenger trains are plying and their stock was already available with the national carrier and hence railways was advised not to procure these items.
“Indian Railways has always been on the forefront on supporting the cause of Khadi and artisans. Covid global pandemic has thrown up hitherto unexpected and unforeseen challenges to all of us especially for national life lines like Railways. Stopping of distribution of linen in trains is one of the means to prevent the spread of virus during train journeys. A decision in this regard was taken in public health interest only. Railways respects the Institution of KVIC and artisans and best possible solution would be worked out in mutual consultation with KVIC only,” a railway ministry spokesperson said in response to HT’s query.