The railways’ plan to provide massage services to its passengers has come under criticism, with Indore Lok Sabha lawmaker Shankar Lalwani writing to Union Minister Piyush Goyal saying it is against Indian culture to offer such services in the presence of women.
A railroad official said on June 8 that the railways were ready to begin installation within the next two weeks on 39 trains departing from Indore.
This is a proposal from the Ratlam division of the Western Railway area, an official said.
The railways are seeking to earn an additional income of Rs 20 lakh per year and an estimated increase of Rs 90 lakh per year through additional ticket sales of around 20,000 passengers.
“Is providing this kind of service to women in line with the principles of Indian culture? Providing medical assistance to passengers, doctors are important to the railways, not these unremarkable services in my opinion,” Mr. Lalwani in his letter dated June 10.
The services have been divided into three categories – gold, diamond and platinum. For gold any non-sticky or olive oil will be used for Rs 100, while diamond service will be provided for Rs 200 with any essential oil and the platinum package will be with cream for Rs 300. All services will be provided for 15-20 minutes.
“I can understand that this service is provided in the tourist trains or even the Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains, but not in the passenger trains as is intended. In the passenger trains, who takes care of the massages? They are poor people and the trips take three to four hours. Who needs a massage there? I think it’s completely unnecessary and many women’s groups here have complained about it as well, ”Lalwani told PTI.
This program is part of the railways program whereby zones and divisions were invited to come up with new and innovative ideas to generate non-tariff revenue for the national carrier.