Under fire from various quarters, the Western Railway (WR) on Saturday dropped its proposal for providing ‘head and foot’ massage services to passengers on trains originating from Indore, an official said here.
WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said the head and foot massage service was initiated by the Ratlam Division.
“As soon as it came to the notice of the higher authorities, it has been decided to withdraw the proposal of starting massage services on trains,” Bhakar said.
There were other suggestions and representations made about necessary passenger amenities which the WR will now consider instead of the massage proposal.
The massage services, touted as “unprecedented” in Indian Railways’ history, was announced a week ago and was proposed to be made available for passengers’ comforts, on board running trains.
It led to a storm on social media with many supporting and some trolling the proposal, including one who demanded: “How about escort services, gigolos, prostitutes?” and others saying it would dirty with oils the very same trains the railways was trying to maintain clean.
The massage service was to be introduced on 39 trains originating from Indore. With Rs 100 per massage, the WR was eyeing a revenue of around Rs. Two million annually from this service.
Besides, there was another estimated revenue increase of Rs 9 million per annum through additional sale of tickets from around 20,000 masseurs who would be service providers.
Around 3-5 licensed male masseurs, authorized by the railways, with officials identity-cards issued, were to travel on each train daily, offering the massage services during daytime to the passengers.
The massage fee was proposed to be included in the ticket fare, entailing no extra charge for the passengers, except for some specialized services using oils or medicines.
The scheme was part of the railways’ scheme whereby zonal and divisional railways were asked to come out with innovative ideas to help generate non-ticket fare revenues.