The media had earlier reported that On Board Housekeeping Services would be suspended from September 1 due to lack of funds.

Housekeeping services on Southern Railway trains to continue after cash infusionImage for representation/PTI
news Railways Friday, August 23, 2019 - 08:57

The Southern Railway has taken back it's decision suspending housekeeping in most of its trains, after the Ministry of Railways sanctioned a last-minute payment to continue the services. 

The Principal Chief Mechanical engineer of the Southern Railway sent a letter to all divisions stating that the order issued for suspending On Board Housekeeping Services (OBHS) on 86 trains is withdrawn. “This is to advise that as a onetime measure Finance has agreed for clearing the past bills as a special measure,” read the letter.

On August 16, the Southern Railway hit by a find crunch and unable to pay its contractors had issued a directive, cancelling OBHS on 86 trains, excluding long distance trains. The OBHS that were planned to be dropped due to cash crunch included change in linen, cleaning of coaches and pest control in trains.

The Southern Railway also claimed that an ‘alarmist situation’ has been portrayed by the media regarding the cancellation of housekeeping services inside trains. “There was a funds mismatch issue, which has been sorted out and bills over Rs 50 crores are being processed for payment,” it said. This despite many media reports quoting sources in the Railways who clearly said that there was a fund crunch.

Adding that the Southern Railway did not consider stopping OBHS at any stage, the clarification stated, “The OBHS, pest control, linen supply, toilet maintenance, etc continue on all 110 identified trains.”

The media reports came following a letter by the Southern Railway that stated that the cleaning services in trains operating under Southern Railway will be stopped from September 1 due to lack of funds to pay the contractors.

In its letter to the Union government, Southern Railways had stated that the funds in hand were not sufficient to continue the services and that the amount would be enough only to make payments till August-September 2019. The emergency situation arose after the Ministry failed to respond to a request for cash infusion in last month’s meeting.

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