Smelly blankets may soon become a thing of past on trains, with the Indian Railways deciding to wash them after every use.
As per the plan, newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric will replace the existing ones and these will be washed after every use, a first in railways.
Currently blankets are washed only periodically–once or twice a month.
“We are procuring blankets designed by NIFT which can be washed after every use and still last longer,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.
National Institute of Fashion Technology has designed the fabric of the blanket, a mix of wool and cotton, which can withstand daily wash.
“Since there were complaints about blankets, we have tried to address the issue. We have approved the NIFT-designed washable blanket. The washable blankets will be used in a few selected premier trains to begin with and later more trains will be covered,” said the official.
Railways has also undertaken steps to set up state-of-the-art mechanised laundries at many stations to cater to the increased requirement of daily washing of bedrolls, including blankets.
It is not only blanket but the entire bedroll has been redesigned with new colour combination by the NIFT. So the bed sheet and pillow cover are all going to sport a new look.
Passengers prefer coloured bedroll to the all-white, according to a survey on passenger preferences, he said.
Besides, the interiors of the coaches are also being modified to match the colour of curtains and bedsheets.
Railways recently introduced e-bedroll facility to enable passengers opt for bedroll while booking tickets online. Passengers in sleeper class coaches can buy takeaway bedroll kits at stations or order online at the time of buying tickets.
The transport behemoth will charge Rs 140 for two bedsheets and a pillow and Rs 110 for a blanket. Together, these can be purchased for Rs 250. Currently only passengers travelling in AC coaches have free bedroll facility.