The news reports claiming that Southern Railways have decided to suspend OBHS due to lack of funds is absolutely fake. Clarification has been offered by an official statement from the Southern Railways themselves. The false reports from mainstream news agencies could have led to concern among passengers regarding the maintenance of the trains.
On August 21st, The Hindu posted an article which reported that “Southern Railway decides to suspend onboard housekeeping services on 86 long-distance trains”. This was also reported by other news agencies such as The News Minute, The Wire, Times of India, etc.
The reports published by the news agencies mentioned above claimed that the Southern Railways have decided to suspend onboard housekeeping on several trains. The numbers reported by them are seen to be differing from each other. For instance, The Hindu had reported that the suspension has been decided to be carried out on 86 trains. Whereas, the Times of India has reported the suspension to be carried out on 70 trains. The Hindu had also included a statement from General Manager Rahul Jain who had said “This lack of funds has caused serious distress to the contractors as they are unable to pay their staff and to procure consumables. There is a strong likelihood that work may cease...it is requested that urgent provision of funds may please be made for these essential passenger amenity activities”. However, further, in the article they have also written about the statement of a senior railway official who had preferred not to be quoted who had said that the linen, pest control services, bio-toilet maintenance services might be withdrawn if the situation continues. Nowhere in the article has any named or unnamed official confirms the decision of suspension, however, The Hindu has reported this with a misleading headline which conveys the idea that the decision has been made.
The Times of India have reported fake news as well but with more detail. Their recent article with the headline “Cleaning services on 70 trains suspended” mentions the major trains where the suspension is to take place and also mentions that in Salem division, the suspension has already been carried out in all trains. Both news agencies have also written about how insufficient funds are the major reason for this suspension and have given figures for that as well. However, the majority of the news reported by them is fake and this can be confirmed by reading the official statement from Southern Railways regarding this situation.
The official account of the Southern Railways tweeted out a statement regarding these reports and their claims. They have mentioned that an ‘alarmist situation’ has been portrayed by the news reports. They have cleared all the fake news and doubts regarding the supposed decision of suspension. They have mentioned that bills over Rs. 50 crores are being processed for payment and have confirmed that in no stage did they consider suspending the Onboard Housekeeping Services (OBHS). They have specified that pest control, linen supply, toilet maintenance and other services will continue on all 110 identified trains.
This statement of theirs eradicated all sorts of misinformation and misleading news spread by news agencies regarding the OBHS. They had also made it clear that they are committed to the Swachh Bharat Mission and ensured improves services to their customers.
This offical statement from Southern Railways led to all these news agencies updating their reports. The Wire which had initially reported similar false news to that of The Hindu and Times of India. However, they had updated their report according to the clarification given by the Southern Railways. The Hindu and The News Minute have published new articles reporting the updated statement.
Initial reports :
Updated reports :
In conclusion, the news reports claiming that Southern Railways have decided to suspend OBHS due to lack of funds is absolutely fake. Clarification has been offered by an official statement from the Southern Railways themselves. The false reports from mainstream news agencies could have led to concern among passengers regarding the maintenance of the trains.
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