Days after a BJP MP wrote to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal against implementing massage services on board, the national transporter on Saturday dropped its plan that was supposed to be made available in a couple of weeks in 39 trains departing from Indore.
In a statement, the Railways said the proposal to provide head, neck and foot massages to passengers— a first of its kind— had been withdrawn.
“Proposal for the introduction of head and/or foot massage services to be provided in the trains originating from Indore was initiated by Ratlam Division of Western Railways. As soon as this proposal came to the notice of higher authorities of Western Railways, it has been decided to withdraw this proposal of starting massage services in trains,” the statement said.
As per the plan, the massage service was to be of three types — gold, diamond and platinum. Charges will be in the range of Rs 100 to 300 and each session will be of 15-20 minutes.
The Railways is looking to earn an additional revenue of Rs 20 lakh annually and an estimated increase of Rs 90 lakh per year through the additional sale of tickets from about 20,000 passengers who will avail of the service.
“Western Railway respects the suggestions given by its consumers and their appropriate suggestions are also implemented from time to time. Western Railways also appreciates the positive suggestions of public representatives, railway consumers, and the public at large,” the statement further said.
The scheme was part of the Non-Fare Revenue Generation in Railways, whereby zones and divisions have been asked to come out with new and innovative ideas to generate non-fare revenue for the national transporter.
However, Indore MP Shankar Lalwani objected to the proposal, saying that it was against Indian culture to offer such services in the presence of women.
“Is providing these kind of services in front of women in accordance with the principles of Indian culture? Providing passengers medical aid, doctors are important for the railways not these standardless services in my opinion,” Lalwani wrote in his letter to Goyal.