Shankar Lalwani, the Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Indore, has questioned the Indian Railways’ proposal to provide massage services to passengers on board trains and called it “standardless”, PTI reported.

The Ratlam division of the Western Railway zone had announced last week that massage facility will be made available on board 39 trains departing from Indore.

Lalwani wrote to the Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal on Monday, saying it would not be appropriate to provide massage services to passengers, especially when women travellers are present. “I am surprised that considering the norms of the Indian culture, will it be appropriate to provide massage services on running trains, especially in the presence of women?” Lalwani said in the letter to Goyal, according to PTI. “In my opinion, providing this kind of standardless service, instead of making available essential medical facilities and doctors to passengers during the rail travel, does not serve any purpose.”

Lalwani told PTI on Thursday that members of local women’s organisations and social bodies had approached him regarding the railways’ initiative.

“People are of the view that the railway should give priority to providing new medical facilities to the passengers,” he said. “They are of the opinion that the massage service can be provided on board the trains going to tourist places, but the railway authorities should do a rethink about providing massage facility to the general passenger trains.”

Meanwhile, Ratlam Railway Divisional Manager RN Sunkar clarified that passengers would be provided foot and head massage and not a full body massage. “We will examine all the aspects before launching the facility” Sunkar said. “We will ensure that it does not cause any inconvenience and makes passengers uncomfortable.”

Sunkar said the Railways has signed a deal with a private agency to offer the service. The initiative is expected to bring the Railways an annual revenue of Rs 20 lakh and an estimated increase of Rs 90 lakh per year through additional sale of tickets to 20,000 passengers who will be the service providers.