Indian Railways on Saturday dropped its proposal to provide massage services to travellers. Indore Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shankar Lalwani had said in a letter to Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal that it was against Indian culture to provide massage services to passengers in the presence of women.

“Proposal for introduction of head and/or foot massage services to be provided in the trains originating from Indore was initiated by Ratlam Division of Western Railways,” the railways said in a statement, PTI reported. “As soon as this proposal came to the notice of higher authorities of Western Railways, it has been decided to withdraw this proposal of starting massage services in trains.”

“Western Railway respects the suggestions given by its consumers and their appropriate suggestions are also implemented from time to time,” the statement added. “Western Railways also appreciates the positive suggestions of public representatives, railway consumers, and public at large.”

The service was to be made available to passengers on 39 trains departing from Indore.

BJP MP’s protest

“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 had said in the letter to Goyal. “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.”