Railway Boot Laundry Operators Association represents about 25 Contractors and Owners of Mechanised BOOT Laundries providing bedroll linen services across the network of Indian Railways which are set-up under PPP mode (Build Own Operate & Transfer), including South Central Railway (Kachiguda, Tirupati, Kakinada, Vijayawada & Nanded) under 10 to 15 years of Contract duration. These Laundries are highly capital intensive and have been set-up with huge capital costs, and the machinery and assets have to be maintained even during non-operational times.
Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, linen/bedroll services on trains have been suspended indefinitely since 21st March 2020. Railways have resumed partial train services from 11’h May 2020 and further about 230 passenger trains are running from 1″ of June without any bedroll/linen provided to passengers in AC compartments.
As per our Contract Agreement, Railways have to make payment for Minimum Assured load irrespective of linen/bedroll given as these projects are of a PPP nature and require capital & debt servicing and maintenance. It’s been more than 5 months that the laundry units have been shut. Due to our representation to the Minister of Railways & Chairman Railway Board, Railway Board issued instructions on 3’d July 2020 to make payments as per contract conditions to the BOOT Laundw Contractors as per the Minimum Assured Load contract condition in the Contract Agreement.
In spite of various representations General Manager, SCR, Chief Mechanical Engineer, SCR, and various SCR Divisions to release payments as per contract condition and Railway Board instructions, no payments were released by SCR. Not only has SCR turned a deaf ear to abide by this contractual obligation, but not even paid a single rupee towards payment to labour & manpower during the period of lockdown from 22’d March till 31 st May 2020 as mandated by
Prime Minister and Government of India’s assurance. Almost 1000 employees, workers & vendors working just in the South Central Railway zone are severely affected and under great hardship, as there are no salaries paid for the last 5 months.
Since they have run out of all avenues of representations, pleas, and requests, to highlight and create awareness of their plight; they held a peaceful protest in front of Rail Nilayam on 1″ September 2020 with not more than 20 people consisting of affected Contractors and employees so that our plight is highlighted, and we and our employees get some immediate relief from South Central Railway.