The Khadi and Village Industries Commission has written to the Railway Board Chairman, urging him to ensure that Rs 39 crore worth supply orders from the national transporter to the country's artisans are not cancelled as it would lead to irreparable loss. The letter comes amid a decision by the Indian Railways to not provide bed sheets, pillow covers or any other linen to passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter dated September 15, from KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena to Railway Board Chairman and CEO VK Yadav, says Khadi India had received orders worth Rs 39.25 crore from the Railways to provide linen. The orders were allocated to various khadi institutions, it said. These products include polyvastra bed sheet, pillow covers, towels and other textile products printed in the name of respective Railway Zones with their logo and manufacturing date that are ready for delivery, Saxena said in the letter.
It was brought to my notice that in a few cases, material was delivered to the consignee but R-Note was not issued. In some cases, the material is ready for delivery but the Railways have extended the delivery period to the next financial year," he said. "Surprisingly, in some cases, material is ready for delivery but Railways have cancelled the order as these Khadi items have been manufactured especially for the Railways with their logo and manufacturing date. KVIC is left with no other option of marketing the same to any other party. If such huge orders worth Rs 39.25 crore are cancelled or refused to honour, our Khadi artisans and institutions will suffer irreparable loss, he said. Saxena also said the Railways should consider the efforts and struggles" of spinners, weavers and other artisans associated with the work. "You are requested to issue necessary directions to honour all previous orders and accept the supplies, he urged the Railway Chairman.
Responding to the letter, Railway spokesperson DJ Narain said, "The COVID global pandemic has thrown up hitherto unexpected and unforseen challenges to all of us especially for a national lifeline like the Railways". "Stopping of Distribution of linen in the trains is one of the means to prevent the spread of virus during train journeys. A decision in this regard was taken in public health interest only. Railways respects the institution of KVIC and artisans and best possible solution would be worked out in mutual consultation with KVIC only," he said.
He further said Indian Railways has always been on the forefront of supporting the cause of khadi and artisans.