COVID-19: Railways to run 'Oxygen Express'; NR says 463 isolation coaches ready for deployment

COVID-19: Railways to run 'Oxygen Express'; NR says 463 isolation coaches ready for deployment

The Railways said empty tankers will start their journey from Maharashtra on Monday to pick up oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro.

In view of the shortage of medical oxygen in several parts of the country owing to the worsening coronavirus situation, the Railway Board on Sunday accepted a request by the Government of Maharashtra to transport liquid medical oxygen on cryogenic tankers.

A Railway official said that they will run 'Oxygen Express' to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country over the next few days.

The governments of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra had earlier approached Railways to explore if liquid medical oxygen tankers could be moved on the rail network.

The country is grappling with a shortage of medical oxygen amid the worsening coronavirus situation wherein deaths are rising and more and more patients are requiring hospitalisation.

The Railways said empty tankers will start their journey from Maharashtra on Monday to pick up oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro.

COVID-19: Railways to run 'Oxygen Express'; NR says 463 isolation coaches ready for deployment
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In another relief, amid a shortage of beds in the country due to the surging COVID-19 cases, the Northern Railways on Sunday said it has 463 COVID-19 coaches available and ready for deployment in states. Northern Railway General Manager Ashutosh Gangal said they are waiting for requirement requests from the states for the deployment of these coaches.

“Northern Railway has 463 COVID coaches. We have already written letters to Chief Secretaries of the states where these coaches can be deployed so that if they have a requirement, they can approach us,” Gangal said.

The Northern Railway GM said the coaches prepared by the Railways can be used for isolating patients and for treating mild cases.

“These coaches are primarily meant for isolation and also if the need arises for very mild cases. These are not meant for serious cases,” Gangal stated.

The Northern Railway GM said there are 50 COVID isolation coaches that are ready at Delhi's Shakur Basti railway station. Further, around 25 coaches will also be made available at Anand Vihar railway station.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi government had requested the Indian Railways to arrange COVID-care coaches at Shakur Basti and Anand Vihar stations.

“Will be grateful if Railways can facilitate up to 5,000 beds,” the Delhi Chief Secretary had asked the Railways with regard to the deployment of COVID-care coaches.

Meanwhile, the railway official said they won't charge anything from states for providing these COVID isolation coaches.

“The health ministry guidelines have no provision for levying fee,” the Northern Railway GM said.

Gangal further announced that the Northern railway had even bought oxygen cylinders.

“Each isolation coach has two cylinders. If more are needed, the state government will have to arrange,” the high-ranking official said.

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