A day after Southern Railway revoked the decision to suspend housekeeping services in over 80 trains, the railway board has transferred Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer who ordered the suspension citing paucity of funds. Shubhranshu has been transferred to a post in Bihar, after the General Manager of Southern Railways claimed on Thursday that the news on fund mismatch was false .
On August 16, the Southern Railway hit by a fund crunch and unable to pay its contractors had issued a directive, cancelling On Board Housekeeping Services (OBHS) on 86 trains, excluding long distance trains. Sources in the Railway had told TNM that due to the Centre not releasing funds, they were unable to pay contracts involved in the services for over three months. The OBHS that were planned to be dropped due to cash crunch included change in linen, cleaning of coaches and pest control in trains.
However, after news of the decision was published in the media, Southern Railways denied that such a situation had arisen.
The Southern Railway also claimed that an ‚Äėalarmist situation‚Äô has been portrayed by the media regarding the cancellation of housekeeping services inside trains. ‚ÄúThere was a funds mismatch issue, which has been sorted out and bills over Rs 50 crores are being processed for payment,‚ÄĚ it said.
Adding that the Southern Railway did not consider stopping OBHS at any stage, the clarification stated, ‚ÄúThe OBHS, pest control, linen supply, toilet maintenance, etc continue in all 110 identified trains.‚ÄĚ
However, in a letter to the Centre, General Manager of Southern Railways, Rahul Jain on August 7, detailed the urgent requirement of additional funds for essential passenger amenity items. The Southern Railways listed pending bills of Rs 22 crore to the contractors and Rs 130 crore to keep the amenities and housekeeping services on. They had warned that OBHS would have to be discontinued if the funds did not reach on time.