The revelation comes after a passenger was nabbed for allegedly stealing blankets and bedsheets in an air-conditioned coach of a train on Monday. Shabbir Rotiwala was arrested at the Ratlam railway station in Madhya Pradesh on Monday after three blankets, as many pillows and six bedsheets of the railways were recovered from his bag when he alighted from the Bandra-Amritsar Paschim Express, according to a railway police official.
During 2017-18, around 1.95 lakh towels, 81,736 bedsheets, 55,573 pillow covers, 5,038 pillows and 7,043 blankets were stolen by passengers from trains, as per figures provided by the Western Railway (WR). “In terms of money, the WR has lost linen and fittings worth Rs Rs 2.5 crore in the last fiscal. This is besides properties damaged by passengers and sometimes by protesters,” a WR official said.
Apart from linen, bath fittings were also stolen from toilets in trains, the official said, adding that the Indian Railways incurred a loss of around Rs 4,000 crore over the last three fiscals due to such acts of passengers. “The Tejas Express train, which runs between Mumbai and Goa, had branded fittings in toilets but many of them were stolen and had to be replaced with cheaper ones,” he said.
Sometimes coach attendants have to pay from their own salaries for the stolen linen as it is their responsibility to ensure every item is returned by passengers, he pointed out. The Central Railway also said that passengers were stealing linen in its trains.
Between April and September this year, 79,350 hand towels, 27,545 bedsheets, 21,050 pillow covers, 2,150 pillows and 2,065 blankets worth about Rs 62 lakh were stolen by passengers from trains run by the Central Railway, according to figures provided by a senior CR official. Expressing concern over such incidents, WR’s Chief Public Relations Officer Ravinder Bhakar said, “We want to provide world-class and comfortable service to passengers, but such acts are posing a challenge for us.”