The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Indian Railways to re-think over the future of its mechanized laundries.
With train services restricted and linen not being provided to passengers due to COVID-19, laundries remain unutilized.
Mechanized laundries were used to wash linen and bedrolls supplied to passengers on long-distance trains. Located at major terminus stations across Indian Railways, they are operated by in-house staff or outsourced to contractors.
In a letter to General Managers of all zonal railways, the Railway Board asked zones not to finalise any new contract related to mechanised laundries.
Zones have been asked to examine the possibility of cancelling the letter of agreement (LOA), wherever feasible. GMs have to ensure safeguarding of IR’s interests in terms of contractual obligations.
For suggesting alternatives on the future of mechanised laundries, IR has constituted a committee on September 24, 2020, with ED (EnHM/ME) as convener.
1. To examine and recommend various alternatives for utilisation and future disposal of mechanised laundries;
2. While suggesting alternatives including foreclosure, the committee will explore existing laundries of BOOT Laundries ( Build Operate Own and Transfer), taking into consideration contractual, financial and legal issues to protect the interest of Railways.
3. Any other connected issue
Zones have been asked to separately explore and advise various options for utilisation and future disposal of existing a) departmental laundries and their LOAs and b) BOOT laundries and their LOAs by October 28, 2020.