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Theft of blankets and sheets on trains: Indian Railways steps up collecting bedrolls 30 minutes before arrival
Financial Express, January 09, 2019

Many incidents of theft of bedrolls in AC coaches of trains have been reported. Hence, Indian Railways has instructed its staff to start collecting bedrolls from passengers around 30 minutes before the train reaches its destination

Theft of bedrolls on Indian Railways trains: Suffering losses on account of stolen blankets and sheets, Indian Railways has instructed its staff to start collecting bedrolls from passengers around 30 minutes before the train reaches its destination. Recently, while replying to a query in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain stated that incidents of theft of bedrolls in air-conditioned coaches of the trains have come to the notice of the Railway Ministry. Complaints have been registered regarding the theft of railway belongings such as bedrolls, towels, fans, lights, blankets etc., over the last few years. Moreover, he also informed that there are some cases of short return of linen items by the attendants of the AC coaches as well!

Gohain in his reply said that the ministry has advised the coach attendants to collect the bedrolls from railway passengers 30 minutes before the train arrives at the destination. He also said that in case of missing or short return of linen items, the cost of the linen is being recovered from the concerned coach attendant or from linen distributing contractors. According to the details provided by the Railway Ministry on the number of passengers and railway staff arrested for bedroll theft during the last five years, 7 passengers and 3 railway employees have been arrested. The total figure included two passengers in East Central zone, three passengers and one employee in North Eastern zone, one passenger in Northeast Frontier zone, two employees in South East Central zone and one passenger in Western zone.

As per the data provided by the Western Railway zone a couple of months ago, 1.95 lakh towels, 81,736 bedsheets, 5,038 pillows, 55,573 pillow covers and 7,043 blankets were stolen by train passengers during 2017-2018. In the month of October last year, the Central Railway reported that in the zone, as many as 79,350 towels, 27,545 bedsheets, 21,050 pillow covers, 2,150 pillows as well as 2,065 blankets of around Rs 62 lakh were stolen by train passengers between the months of April and September 2018.

The very few number of arrests suggests that Indian Railways as against the cases of missing items suggests that Indian Railways needs to step up its measures to prevent theft of its assets.

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