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As India is struggling to meet the medical demands of COVID-19 affected persons, Indian Railways is leaving no stone unturned to supply oxygen in various parts of the country. Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board, Suneet Sharma recently said that the entire fraternity of Indian Railways of more than 12 lakh employees are working round the clock and are putting shoulder to the wheel to ensure that the national transporter will come out triumphs in its movement of lifeline (oxygen) for the people. According to the Railway Board, routes for Oxygen Express are mapped, ramps and wagons are ready. Here is the tentative planning of Indian Railways’ Oxygen Express, which includes the following routes:
- Andhra Pradesh: Angul to Vijayawada
- Telangana: Angul to Secunderabad
- Delhi: Movement from Angul, Raigarh, Kalingnagar and Rourkela to Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). The Delhi government has advised to obtain road tankers.
- Maharashtra: Jamnagar to Mumbai, Nagpur/Pune to Vizag/Angul
- Movement of oxygen containers by Indian Railways on container wagons from Durgapur to the national capital. According to the Railway Board, container wagons are ready.
- Madhya Pradesh: Jamshedpur to Jabalpur
Meanwhile, the national transporter is also making an all out effort to supplement the health care efforts of the Indian government. As many as 5601 train coaches were converted as covid care isolation centers by Indian Railways. At present, a total of 3816 coaches are available as covid care coaches for use. These Indian Railways’ covid care coaches are being deployed as per demand by state governments.
As of 24 April 2021, as many as 21 such coaches have been deployed at Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district. The state government of Madhya Pradesh has requested to deploy 20 covid care coaches at Bhopal as well as 20 such coaches at Habibganj stations. While 50 coaches at Shakur Basti, 25 coaches at Anand Vihar, 10 coaches at Varanasi, 10 coaches at Bhadohi and 10 coaches at Faizabad have been deployed.