Outgoing Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan has questioned the plan to provide massage service on trains, suggesting that it may make women passengers feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Shankar Lalwani, her successor as BJP MP from Indore, had raised similar objections earlier this week. In a letter to Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal on Friday, Mahajan sought to know whether the ministry had approved the Ratlam Division's plan to start a massage service.
"What arrangements will be made to provide this facility given that the service would throw up some questions regarding the safety and comfort of passengers, especially that of women passengers," Mahajan asked.
The former MP also sought to know whether a massage parlour was being set up at the Indore Railway Station. On June 10, Lalwani had written a letter to the railway ministry on the issue, saying it would not be appropriate to provide massage to passengers on board, especially in the presence of women. As per the plan, the facility will be available on 39 trains originating from Indore, including the Dehradun-Indore Express, New Delhi-Indore Intercity Express, and Indore- Amritsar Express.
After Lalwani's letter, Ratlam Railway Divisional Manager R N Sunkar had clarified that the service would not include a `full body massage'. Only head and foot massage will be provided, he said. The railways will ensure that the facility will not make passengers feel uncomfortable, he added.
The Indian Railways on June 8, announced massage services for passengers on board running trains. The service will be made available in 39 trains departing from Indore. This will be the first time in the history of Indian Railways that massage services will be made available for passengers on board running trains. The Railways will charge Rs 100 each for foot massage or head massage. Three to five contracted persons will travel on each train. The proposal was made from the Ratlam division of Western Railway zone under New, Innovative Non-Fare Revenue Ideas Scheme (NINFRIS). Massage service will not be available during night hours (10 pm to 6 am).