Chor-Yatris: Lakhs of towels and bedsheets stolen from trains

It is quite difficult to fill a tank with a hole in it. If the hole is huge and the inlet is limited, what would you do? Indian Railways is facing the similar question. They are trying to ‘fill the tank’ by upgrading amenities, the passengers are ‘creating hole’ to deplete their efforts.
The passengers are suspected to have made off with precisely 21,72,246 “bedroll items” – including 12,83,415 hand towels, 4,71,077 bed sheets and 3,14,952 pillow covers.
It’s quite a shame as these amenities are provided in AC coaches only. Passengers travelling in AC coach pay much higher. Thus, they are from higher economic strata of the society.
Besides, the Railways found 56,287 pillows and 46,515 blankets missing from the AC coaches during this period.
“Together, the missing items are estimated to cost over Rs. 14 crore,” a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.
Among the 16 zones of Indian Railways, the Southern zone alone accounted for the theft of 2,04,113 hand towels, 29,573 bedsheets, 44,868 pillow covers, 3,713 pillows and 2,745 blankets.
In the missing list, South Central zone has registered 95,700 towels, 29,747 pillow covers, 22,323 bedsheets, 3,352 blankets and 2,463 pillows.
In the Northern zone, 85,327 towels, 38,916 bedsheets, 25,313 pillow covers, 3,224 pillows and 2,483 blankets were found missing.
In the East Central zone, 33,234 bedsheets, 22,769 pillow covers, 1,657 pillows, 76,852 towels, and 3,132 blankets were stolen last year.
In the Eastern zone, 1,31,313 towels, 20,258 bedsheets, 9,006 pillow covers, 1,517 pillows and 1,913 blankets were reported missing by attendants after the end of the train journey.
The East Coast railways has registered 43,318 towels, 23,197 bed sheets, 8,060 pillow covers, and 2,260 blankets as missing
In the light of the thefts, especially of towels, the railways has decided that the face towels given to passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches will be replaced with cheaper, smaller, disposable, takeaway napkins, said the official.
The plan envisages improvement of linen management with the aim of providing clean, hygienic and good quality linen to passengers travelling in AC classes, the official said.
The railways have already started changing the cover of blankets in some sections while the frequency of washing is being increased from monthly to fortnightly and weekly.
There is also a move to increase the frequency of washing and to provide the newly designed lightweight blankets made of soft fabric in a phased manner. So much care for thief passengers.

What do you think?

Written by Sugat Srivastava

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