14 Oct 2018: Indian Railways might remove cubicle curtains for 2AC coaches
The Indian Railways has, for a while, been facing difficulties in cleaning the curtains that cover passenger cubicles of AC Two Tier coaches.
Now, these difficulties have reached a tipping point, so much so that the Railways is considering removing the drapes altogether.
They're probably not at fault, considering that passengers use the curtains for all sorts of cleaning tasks.
Here are the details.
Details: The Railways washes curtains once in a month
With passengers using the curtains, meant for privacy, for everything ranging from wiping their hands and faces to cleaning to their footwear, the Railways' once-a-month washing routine for the curtains just isn't making the cut.
Despite monthly washes, the curtains are remaining dirty, and this has prompted the Railways to reconsider having them in the first place.
Fact: It is impossible to maintain curtains, thanks to passengers
"Curtains are unhygienic and when we're talking about cleanliness in general, these should be removed first as they are a source of many diseases. Because of the traffic volume and insensitivity of passengers, it is impossible to maintain curtains," said ex-Railway Board chairman RK Singh.
Replacement: Blinders might replace the drapes in 2AC coaches
According to two Railway Board officials who spoke to HT on the condition of anonymity, the curtains providing privacy to 2AC coaches might soon be replaced by blinders.
However, the plans haven't been finalized, and the Railways might simply remove the drapes, as it did for AC Three Tier coaches four years back.
A decision is expected to be taken soon.
Fact: A proposal will be finalized by October end
"There are two proposals and we will finalize one of them by the end of this month. Replacement with blinds will require capital expenditure...[but] the money can be used elsewhere....We have discussed the alternatives and will soon take a call," said one of the officials.
3AC: Why the Railways had removed curtains for 3AC coaches
Interestingly, the Railways, which had introduced curtains for all 3AC coaches back in 2009, decided to remove them in 2014.
However, it wasn't nuisance on part of passengers that prompted the Railways to do so.
Instead, following a blaze on the Bangalore-Nanded express in which curtains caught fire, an inquiry committee recommended that they be removed for enhanced passenger safety.
And, so they were.