Rail­ways likely to re­move drapes from 2AC coaches

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION - Faizan Haidar

NEW DELHI: In­dian Rail­ways is find­ing it so dif­fi­cult to clean the cur­tains that cover the pas­sen­ger cu­bi­cles of air-con­di­tioned Two Tier coaches on its trains that it may do away with the drapes.

Some pas­sen­gers use the cur­tains for pur­poses rang­ing from wip­ing their hands to clean­ing their footwear, mak­ing it tough for the rail­way op­er­a­tor to main­tain the drapes that are meant to pro­vide pri­vacy to trav­ellers, rail­way board of­fi­cials said.

The cur­tains are washed once a month but with reg­u­lar use, they of­ten get dirty. A few meet­ings have taken place to dis­cuss the mat­ter and the sub­ject of pri­vacy, two board of­fi­cials aware of the mat­ter said on con­di­tion of anonymity. The cur­tains may now be re­placed by blinds to as­sure pas­sen­gers of con­tin­ued pri­vacy.

“There are two pro­pos­als and we will fi­nal­ize one of them by the end of this month. Re­place­ment with blinds will re­quire cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture and though there is no dearth of funds, the money can be used else­where. In the meet­ings, we have dis­cussed the al­ter­na­tives and will soon take a call,” said one of the of­fi­cials, re­quest­ing anonymity.

In­dian Rail­way re­moved the cur­tains cov­er­ing cu­bi­cles in air-con­di­tioned Three Tier coaches in 2014, cit­ing safety rea­sons. The de­ci­sion was taken fol­low­ing a blaze on the Ban­ga­lore-nanded Ex­press, in which drapes that caught fire helped spread the flames.

Twenty-six peo­ple died in the fire.

Al­though the cur­tains were made of fire-re­tar­dant ma­te­rial, the board de­cided to re­move them on the rec­om­men­da­tions of an in­quiry com­mit­tee that said the drapes may help spread fires.in­dian Rail­ways had in 2009 de­cided to put cur­tains in the aisles of all air-con­di­tioned Three-tier coaches to give more pri­vacy to pas­sen­gers. The drapes on win­dows re­mained in both AC Three Tier and Two Tier cat­e­gories.

“Those look­ing for pri­vacy can opt for 1AC coaches where they can travel in a cabin. Not only main­te­nance of cur­tains is dif­fi­cult, pas­sen­ger use them for clean­ing of shoes and some­times as tow­els,” said the sec­ond rail­way board of­fi­cial.

For­mer Rail­way Board chair­man RK Singh sup­ports the pro­posal to do away with the cur­tains.

“Cur­tains are un­hy­gienic and when we are talk­ing about clean­li­ness in gen­eral, these should be re­moved first as they are a source of many dis­eases,” he said. “Be­cause of the traf­fic vol­ume and in­sen­si­tiv­ity of pas­sen­gers, it is im­pos­si­ble to main­tain cur­tains.”


The cur­tains in 2AC are washed once a month but with reg­u­lar use, they of­ten get dirty.

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