Indian Railways, the behemoth with 12,000 trains, 13 lakh employees, and 65,000 km tracks across the country, has emerged as one of the strongest links in fight against Coronavirus diseases.
Amid the 21 days lockdown, the railways have maintained the supply of essential goods, as well as kept energy infrastructure alive through the supply of raw materials. The behemoth is also helping in the fight against Coronavirus through the manufacturing of face masks, hand sanitisers, and converting the coaches and isolation wards.
“Preparing to Combat Coronavirus: In a novel initiative, Railways has converted train coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients. Now, Railways will offer clean, sanitised & hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover,” tweeted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal under whose leadership the behemoth has done a tremendous job in the fight against the virus.
Preparing to Combat Coronavirus: In a novel initiative, Railways has converted train coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients 🛌
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 28, 2020
One prototype has been converted into the Isolation ward now. If this is finalised, Railway is planning that in every zone of railways, 10 coaches per week will be converted into isolation ward: Indian Railways https://t.co/6dyI0CwfJs
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2020
The Railways has already converted 5,000 trains into isolation wards, which results in 40,000 beds. “We, at the railways, thought: how can we contribute?” its spokesman, Rajesh Bajpai, told the BBC. “So we came up with this idea and everyone liked it.”
The Railways has a capacity to create another 15,000 trains as isolation wards, and therefore, it could contribute around a total of 1.5 lakh beds.
Given the fact India’s Coronavirus fight strategy revolves around “Isolation Isolation Isolation” as announced by Indian Council of Medical Research chairman Dr. Balram Bhargava, the country would need a large number of isolation wards.
Whenever the medical team identifies a few cases of community transmission in an area, the whole population of that particular building or block needs to be isolated. Because there are many asymptomatic cases, isolation becomes more important. So, the effort of Indian Railways to create isolation wards will help the country in the fight against coronavirus big time.
Moreover, Indian Railways has produced 5.82 lakh reusable face masks and 41,882 litres of hand sanitiser at its zonal railway production units and PSUs till 7 April. Some of the zones have taken the lead in this regard like the Western Railway with 81,008 reusable face masks and 2,569 litres of hand sanitiser, followed by North Central Railway (77,995 face masks, 3,622 litres of hand sanitiser), North Western Railway (51,961 face masks, 3,027 litres of hand sanitiser), Central Railway (38,904 face masks, 3,015 litres of hand sanitiser), East Central Railway (33,473 face masks, 4,100 litres of hand sanitiser) and West Central Railway (36,342 face masks, 3,756 litres of hand sanitiser).
Under the leadership of Piyush Goyal, Indian Railways have not only maintained the supply of essentials at a time when most of the transporters are off the road, but also prepared old trains and isolation wards for the fight against Coronavirus. The Railways have also manufactured lakhs of masks and thousands of liters of sanitizers. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the catering arm of the behemoth, supplied food packets for millions of poor people and stranded laborers.
The effort of the Indian Railways reminds us about its importance in such critical times. With innovative ideas to serve the people and help the government, it has saved thousands of lives.