All biz washed up, railway laundry firms crestfallen
Incurring huge losses as Rlys not heeding pleas to provide assured work
Agreement not honoured
♦ There are 25 contractors and owners of mechanised BOOT laundries across Indian Railways under PPP mode (build Own Operate and Transfer)
♦ Five of them operate in SCR at Kacheguda, Tirupati, Vijayawada, Kakinanda and Nanded
♦ Linen and bedroll services suspended since March 21, 2020
♦ The contract is for 15 years and ends in 2030
♦ 1,000 employees including workers, vendors, in SCR are affected
Hyderabad: The Supreme Laundry Services at Kacheguda that provides bedroll /linen services to the South Central Railway portrays a dismal picture, with all activity grinding to a halt. The place was bubbling with activity just a few months ago.
Ever since the bedroll/linen services were suspended indefinitely since March 21, the laundry operators have been facing a tough time.
The laundry set up at a cost of Rs 10 crore has a capacity to wash 12-15 tonnes per day. For the past six months, the men and machinery have been idle. Speaking to The Hans India, Yashodhar Vallala, CEO, Supreme Laundry Services Joint Venture P Ltd, said, "The SCR should provide at least interim payment.
It is a breach of contract and inefficiency and indecisiveness of the authorities." He added, "In the guise of Covid-19, the the authorities are changing the policy." The Railway Boot Laundry Operators Association (RBLOS) met the SCR General Manager and the Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer on September 1, following which an assurance was given but members say there has been no progress.
Santosh Kumar Kashhetty, manager, Supreme Laundry Services, says, "As per the contract, Railways have to make a payment of minimum assured load." A member of RBLOS says, "The Railway is introducing several trains and naming them Covid specials and not providing blankets and linen.
As a matter of fact, the bedsheets from the laundry are safer as they are washed in 70% steam water and ironed at 180 degree C. No virus can survive." Yashodhar says, "We are spending Rs 20 lakh to just keep the laundry going every month.
The machines have to be maintained even during non-operational times. We spend crores and imported the machinery."