While addressing the India Foundation Dialogue 70 via video conference, the Railway Minister said that over 5,000 number of coaches have been converted by the national transporter, in which 80,000 isolation beds are now ready.
Indian Railways unique step, courtesy PM Modi! The idea of converting Indian Railways’ coaches into isolation wards, was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says Piyush Goyal. According to the Railway Minister, the innovative idea was given by PM Modi, even before the nationwide lockdown was imposed. According to Goyal, PM Modi called him one day to ask whether railway coaches can be converted into isolation wards. Goyal was quoted in an ANI report saying that Indian Railways’ employees worked hard and in consultation with the Health Ministry, they developed the entire design. While addressing the India Foundation Dialogue 70 via video conference, the Railway Minister said that over 5,000 number of coaches have been converted by the national transporter, in which 80,000 isolation beds are now ready.
According to the Railway Minister, since the month of March, the national transporter has operated freight trains non-stop throughout the lockdown period ensuring adequate supplies of medicines, foodgrain, milk, fertilizer, coal petroleum products to very far-flung areas. He said that nearly 4,611 Shramik Special train services transported over 63 lakh stranded migrants to their respective destinations. The migrant passengers were provided with meals and water during the journey. Till 18 June 2020, as many as 1.85 crore meals as well as 3.12 crore drinking water packets were provided to migrant passengers during their railway journey, Goyal said.
According to Goyal, there is no demand for migrant trains at present. Also, no Shramik train service was operated yesterday, he said. He further said that the national transporter was able to make personal protective equipment like face masks, hand sanitizers for its own needs without depending on anyone else. Due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, trains are not running to their capacity at present as railway passengers are still not ready to travel in public transport.
In Indian Railways’ 167-year history, it is the first time that passenger trains are not running to full capacity. The national transporter had started 125 pairs of trains as special train services, across the country, but Indian Railways has not still reached the full potential of its passenger traffic. Currently, the average occupancy of passengers is around 70%. Only a few trains are going full, he added.