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Monday, September 17, 2012

Washing dirty linen in Public or is it more about the unwashed linen !


‘To wash dirty linen in public’ – is an idiom meaning ‘ to talk to other people about personal things that are ought to be kept private’.
Sometime back, Guardian reported of a survey in UK that  found one in six people admitting to waiting at least a month before washing their bed sheets, while half a million were said to wash their sheets only three times a year. Leaving beds to fester and become home to bacteria and dust mites seems to be a capital crime: Londoners top the league of offenders, with 24% laundering their linen just once a month or less frequently. The Northern Irish are the most scrupulous – only 8% fall into this category.  The discussions were on whether Britain's hygiene standards really that appalling?
We stay in hotels and sometimes worry of the linen – and more worry when you travel in Railways as you start doubting whether the bed rolls provided by the Railway contractors  are really fresh ones / freshly washed and are hygiene.  One might have had different experiences !
Today’s TOI carries an interesting report.  TOI states :  It’s been a year since CBI raided a few trains and seized dirty bed linen and bed rolls at the Central and Egmore railway stations. But nothing has changed.   Recently, a judge of the Madras high court shot off a letter to the Southern Railway general manager stating that the bed rolls supplied to him and other passengers on an AC II tier coach of Nellai Express on August 19 were smelly and dirty.     “This is not the first time when I have had this experience. The bed rolls supplied to passengers are not washed,” said Justice R S Ramanathan in his letter.   He also asked the railways to supply properly washed bed rolls to passengers in the AC coaches. Red tape and lack of proper checks or supervision continue to make travelling a nightmare on trains operated by Southern Railway. In spite of repeated complaints, the railways continues to supply dirty bed linen to its passengers in air-conditioned coaches on mail and express trains.
Though the railways insists that its contractors wash the sheets after every trip, on most occasions passengers who travel from Chennai receive clean sheets while used sheets and bed rolls are pressed and supplied for the return journey. Unhygienic bedding cause sleepless nights.  Passengers who travel to the city from cities like Madurai, Nagercoil, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and other cities are forced to use stained pillows, bed sheets and bed rolls. As per rule, sheets should be used only once and railways should ensure that trains carry adequate number of fresh sheets for return journey. But, this is hardly followed.
Southern Railway chief public relations officer V J Accamma said: “Railways is planning to take over supply of sheets and bed rolls. A washing plant that will have capacity to wash 1,000 sheets is being set up at Basin Bridge. A tender will be floated to set up a similar plant in Thiruvananthapuram. We tell our contractors to supply clean sheets.” The anticorruption branch of the CBI raided Trivandrum Mail, Cheran Express, Pandian Express, Rockfort Express, Bangalore Mail, Nellai Express and Yercaud Express in August 2011. But, dirty sheets are still supplied in these trains.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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