Passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches of trains can now wrap themselves up in soft and clean blankets of superior quality, according to revised specifications issued by the Railway Board.
The instructions issued earlier this month has said that the blankets which are provided to passengers in AC coaches should be clean and free of grease, soap, filling or any other admixture which would give fictitious mass or firmness to the blankets.
Unlike the blankets provided now which are woollen, the revised specifications said that the fibre content of the blankets should be 60 per cent wool, 15 per cent nylon and the weight should be 450 gram.
The Railway Board has specified "soft blanket of superior quality with four side satin piping not less than 4 cm stitches per centimeter" for AC coaches.
At present, the blanket comes in a smaller size, weighs 2.2 kgs and is used for four years.
"These blankets with revised specifications should be washed preferably twice in a month subject to available capacity...in case of capacity constraints, washing should be done at least once a month.
"Life of the blankets with revised specifications and increased washing frequency is reduced initially to two years," the note said, adding that this could be revised after a year.
Currently, blankets are dry-cleaned once every two months, with various zonal railways washing them at a periodicity that ranges from once every fortnight, once a month and even once in two-three months. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) last year had pulled up the railways for foisting dirty sheets, pillow cases and blankets on passengers.
The country's supreme audit authority, in its report tabled in Parliament, noted that the national transporter was not adhering to the time schedule fixed for washing and sanitation of linen and blankets used by passengers.