Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian Railways goes innovative in fight against Coronavirus! Check out these top 5 unique initiatives

Indian Railways’ fight against the novel Coronavirus outbreak continues! In this time of crisis, when the entire nation has been put in a lockdown till 14 April 2020, Indian Railways is making efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. In a bid to help the government, the national transporter has taken several significant steps to provide medical facilities to the public across the nation. From manufacturing masks and sanitizers to converting train coaches into isolation wards for COVID-19 patients, Piyush Goyal chaired Railway Ministry is implementing various innovations to tackle the deadly virus pandemic. Here, take a look at some of the top innovations introduced by Indian Railways to fight COVID-19 infection:

Production of ventilators: The Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, recently developed a prototype of a ventilator, which would be used in the isolation or quarantine facilities of Indian Railways. The newly developed prototype ventilator has an original design and moreover, it will cost almost a fraction of the cost of a regular ventilator. Besides, the Production Units of Indian Railways are also manufacturing ventilators, PPEs as well as other medical equipment to meet the needs to fight novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Isolation wards or quarantine facilities: The national transporter has converted as many as 5,000 train coaches across the nation into isolation or quarantine facilities with around 80,000 beds for COVID-19 patients. The aim is to convert as many as 20,000 coaches if the need arises.

Mobile doctor booth for check-ups: The Coach Rehabilitation Workshop of the national transporter, located in Bhopal has launched a mobile doctor booth called “CHARAK”. The mobile booth facilitates zero-contact check-ups of patients and also ensures the safety of the medical professionals or doctors in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fumigation/disinfection tunnel: Indian Railways is setting up fumigation or disinfection tunnels at various places. So, when someone enters through it, the fumigation spray begins and sanitizes the entire body of that person. A Fumigation Tunnel has been set up at Indian Railways’ Jagadhri Workshop. Also, a disinfection tunnel has been made available at Electric Loco Shed, Bhusawal.

Manufacturing of masks and sanitizer: According to a press release issued by the Railway Ministry, till 7 April 2020, the national transporter manufactured a total of 5,82,317 reusable face masks as well as 41,882 litres of hand sanitizer in-house in the zones of Indian Railways, Production Units as well as PSUs to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Indian Railways installs Thermal Imaging Camera at Electric Loco Shed, Bhusawal to prevent COVID-19; features

Though no thermal cameras can detect or diagnose the novel Coronavirus infection, FLIR cameras can be used as an adjunct to other body temperature screening tools for detecting elevated skin temperature through quick individual screening in high-traffic public places.

With the novel Coronavirus outbreak, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is taking several measures to prevent the spread of deadly COVID-19 infection. Recently, the national transporter installed a Thermal Imaging Camera to measure body temperature at Electric Loco Shed, Bhusawal (ELS/BSL). Though no thermal cameras can detect or diagnose the novel Coronavirus infection, FLIR cameras can be used as an adjunct to other body temperature screening tools for detecting elevated skin temperature through quick individual screening in high-traffic public places. Also, a disinfection tunnel has been made available by the ELS/BSL.

According to the national transporter, if the skin temperature in key areas, especially the forehead and corner of the eyes, is above average temperature, then that person may be selected for additional screening. Identifying those people with EBT, who should be further screened with virus-specific diagnostic tests, can help or drastically reduce the spread of novel Coronavirus infection. Here are some highlights of the Thermal Imaging Camera for detecting elevated body temperature as part of employee health and screening provided at ELS/BSL:

  • At the office entrance, FLIR E40 camera is being used to detect elevated body temperature.
  • Live Thermal images are visible on the LED screen with the help of HDMI to 3 RCA connector.
  • One staff member is continuously monitoring the LED screen.
  • The system is an automatic temperature measuring system and is contactless.
  • With the help of the FLIR E40 camera, fast and accurate measurement is done.
  • In case, any abnormal temperature is detected, the LED Screen goes out fully red.
  • According to railways, the system is accurate up to 2 per cent of reading.

Recently, it was reported that the Jagadhari Workshop of Indian Railways is manufacturing coverall PPE’s in-house. Besides, the national transporter also built a Fumigation Tunnel in Jagadhri Workshop to prevent the spread of novel Coronavirus infection.

Indian Railways passengers note! Railway Ministry issues clarification on resuming train services

– No decision has been made on when passenger train services will be resumed on the Indian Railways network.

Important alert for Indian Railways passengers! The Ministry of Railways has clarified on resuming train services amidst the unprecedented situation. According to the Railway Ministry, some media reports have falsely published details of protocols that will be followed for passenger travel post the lockdown period. However, Indian Railways has clarified in this regard that no protocol has been issued for restarting train services after the COVID-19 lockdown will be lifted and all such media reports claiming otherwise, are misleading and incorrect. To put it clearly – no decision has been made on when passenger train services will be resumed on the Indian Railways network! The Railway Ministry further stated that as and when the decision for restarting passenger trains will be taken, all stakeholders will be informed.

In the wake of the rising COVID-19 pandemic across the country, Indian Railways had suspended the operations of all passenger trains throughout the network, including Mail/Express trains, suburban trains, metro, inter city trains, Konkan Railway and all long distance trains. However, the Railway Board allowed the continuation of Indian railways freight trains in order to ensure the supply chain in the country, by the valuable transportation of essential commodities such as food grains, fruits, milk, vegetables, salt, sugar etc. Indian Railways has also started 109 timetabled parcel trains over 58 routes for the transportation of essential items in the lockdown period.

Meanwhile, the Railway Board has also taken a slew of measures to support the Centre and state governments in dealing with the pandemic. Indian Railways is in the process of converting as many as 20,000 train coaches spread across the network, into COVID-19 isolation wards, for facilitating individuals to be kept in quarantine.

It is also preparing hospital beds, saline stands, face masks, sanitisers to be utilized for safety and protection across the network. Additionally, Indian Railways has also relaxed the refund rules for passengers, who had confirmed train tickets between the lockdown period i.e., March 21, 2020 – April 14, 2020. The relaxed refund rules apply for both IRCTC e-tickets as well as PRS counter booked tickets.

 

Indian Railways Prepared To Convert 20,000 Coaches Into COVID-19 Isolation Units

To help the government in its effort to contain the spread of coronavirus, Indian Railways said it would be prepared to convert 20,000 coaches into quarantine and isolation coaches which can accommodate up to 3.2 lakh beds for isolation needs.

“As part of COVID-19 preparedness, it has been decided by Indian Railways that it would be prepared to modify 20,000 coaches into quarantine and isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country. In this connection, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of various Zonal Railways, and Ayushman Bharat, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Five Zonal Railways have already prepared prototypes for the quarantine/ isolation coaches,” an official statement said.

“These modified 20,000 coaches can accommodate up to 3.2 lakh possible beds for isolation needs. Work on modification of 5,000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine and isolation coaches, has already started,” it added.

These 5,000 coaches would be having the capacity to accommodate up to 80,000 beds. One coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation.

The Zonal Railways have been advised to plan for the said modifications immediately and inform the date of readiness of these rakes to Railway Board.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country stands at 1,251.

Government Committed To Ensuring Supply Of Essential Goods

Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said the government is committed to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential goods to the public. In a series of tweets, the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry said, “Had a video conference with stakeholders from e-commerce & logistics industry regarding the issues faced due to #COVID2019 lockdown & discussed measures to resolve them.”

“We are committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people in the most convenient and safest manner.”

The meet was attended by representatives from Snapdeal, Shopclues, Flipkart and others.

Earlier in the day, the Centre set up a control room to monitor the status of transportation along with delivery of goods, manufacturing and essential commodities to the public.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has set up the control room to monitor “real time” basis the status of delivery. The facility will also monitor the difficulties being faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown period.

“In the event of any manufacturing, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies facing ground level difficulties in transport and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources, the same may be informed to this Department…,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had said in a statement

16 Walking Home 335 Km In UP Rescued, Haven’t Eaten In Days, Say Police

Sixteen people who have been walking from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to Samastipur, a distance of some 335 km, during the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic were rescued by the police.

They were walking along a railway track after they could not find transport to go home during the lockdown.

They said they were working in Calicut in Kerala and had managed to reach Jhansi by train just before the railways shut down services.

“From Jhansi, we took a lift from some trucks that were passing by and managed to reach Varanasi but for the onward journey, we have no option but to walk,” one of them said.

The group reached Kuchman railway station when Superintendent of Police Hemant Kutiyal came to know and rescued them. They hadn’t eaten for the last four days, the police said.

One of them said they were walking along the railway track to avoid getting lost.

The police officer said he has got permission to arrange a vehicle for the 16 to be sent home on Thursday.

In another incident, the police in Meerut said they rescued a labourer, his wife and four children who had been walking around in search of food. The family, including the children, has not eaten for more than 48 hours.

“The entire family was in a bad shape. But, thankfully, they reached well in time. We gave them food and some money too,” senior police officer Bijender Rana said.

The labourer, Imran Ahmad, said they did not know how to survive the remaining period of the lockdown. He told the police that there are hundreds of labourers working at brick kilns who are facing a similar plight.

In Lucknow, the police distributed food packets to the homeless under a bridge in the city.

Train Tickets To Be Auto-Refunded Amid Lockdown, Cancellation Not Needed

The IRCTC has asked people not to cancel the tickets they have booked online for those trains that have been cancelled and assured them that they will get full refund automatically.

Earlier, the railways had extended to three months the time to cancel counter tickets till June 21.

The railway subsidiary, IRCTC, said in a statement that doubts have been raised regarding cancellation of e-tickets subsequent to the halting of railway passenger trains.

“No cancellation required on the part of user. If user cancels his ticket, there are chances he may get less refund. Hence, passengers are advised not to cancel e- tickets on their own for those trains which have been cancelled by railways,” it said.

“Refund amount will be credited to the user account used for booking of e-tickets automatically. No charges are deducted by the railways in case of train cancellation,” the statement added.

The railways has cancelled all trains till March 31 in view of coronavirus outbreak.

IRCTC Hits Lower Circuit As Passenger Trains Come To A Halt

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) shares sunk 5 per cent to hit the lower circuit as the government has stopped passenger trains, the lifeline of the country, in order to control the spiralling Covid 19 cases and prevent train travel by panic-struck individuals. The stock of Indian Railways’ catering arm froze at the lower circuit of 5 per cent at Rs 903 at opening bell as the stoppage of trains, and the resultant closure of its food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens across railway stations in the country, will make a huge dent on its revenues.

The railways on Sunday announced the suspension of all passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight as part of the government’s measures to control the spread of Covid. Trains which had started their journey prior to 4 am on March 22 will, however, be allowed to complete their run to the destinations. And around 9,000 goods trains that run every day will operate as usual, the government said.

The suspension of countrywide train services was necessitated by the discovery of some Covid 19 cases among railway passengers and frenzy among hordes of migrant workers to leave metro cities and return to their hometowns.

IRCTC shares have plunged more than half in a mere 17 sessions alone.

The Indian Railways operates 13,500 passenger and mail or long-distance trains every day. All services, including suburban trains, have been discontinued till this month-end, the railways ministry said in an order on Sunday.

The benchmark indices hit the lower circuit of 10 per cent this morning and trading was halted for 45 minutes, after India entered a lockdown joining several countries in their fight against the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

At 11:30 am, post the resumption of trading, the S&P BSE Sensex was at 26,455, lower by 3,421 points and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark was at 7,765, down 978 points.

Railways to release full salary to contractual workers during suspension of service

In a huge relief to lakhs of contractual employees, the railways has decided to release their full salaries even as it suspended all its passenger services till March 31.

In an order issued on Tuesday, the railways has said that due to prevailing coronavirus situation in India and the stoppage of trains, several contractual staff engaged in on-board housekeeping service, sanitation, pantry car and commercial activities have been stranded and have to compulsorily stay at other places, while others have to be in readiness to attend the duties at a short notice.

“In order to reduce the hardship being faced by these workers, (Railway) Board has decided to treat the employees of private establishments (including temporary, contractual, outsourcesd) engaged in providing services in trains, stations and offices, directly affected with suspension of services and lockdown situations, as on duty and be paid accordingly till the expiry of suspension of services/lockdown or as advised by the central government in this regard,” according to an order. “Maximum payment which may be made shall be limited to 70 per cent of the contract value for contracts awarded on lump sum basis,” the order stated.

An official clarified that in any contract, the major component is labour. “Hence, to pay labour 100 per cent salaries, it has been kept at 70 per cent of total contract value. It is clarified, in this time no material is being consumed as trains are not functioning,” the official said. The Railway Board has also advised zones to ensure that these employees are not retrenched due to this suspension of services /lockdown and are paid in the manner prescribed.

Coronavirus Shutdown Update: 16 Walking Home 335 Km In UP Rescued, Haven’t Eaten In Days, Say Police

Sixteen people who have been walking from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to Samastipur, a distance of some 335 km, during the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic were rescued by the police.

They were walking along a railway track after they could not find transport to go home during the lockdown.

They said they were working in Calicut in Kerala and had managed to reach Jhansi by train just before the railways shut down services.

“From Jhansi, we took a lift from some trucks that were passing by and managed to reach Varanasi but for the onward journey, we have no option but to walk,” one of them said.

The group reached Kuchman railway station when Superintendent of Police Hemant Kutiyal came to know and rescued them. They hadn’t eaten for the last four days, the police said.

One of them said they were walking along the railway track to avoid getting lost.

The police officer said he has got permission to arrange a vehicle for the 16 to be sent home on Thursday.

In another incident, the police in Meerut said they rescued a labourer, his wife and four children who had been walking around in search of food. The family, including the children, has not eaten for more than 48 hours.

“The entire family was in a bad shape. But, thankfully, they reached well in time. We gave them food and some money too,” senior police officer Bijender Rana said.

The labourer, Imran Ahmad, said they did not know how to survive the remaining period of the lockdown. He told the police that there are hundreds of labourers working at brick kilns who are facing a similar plight.

In Lucknow, the police distributed food packets to the homeless under a bridge in the city.

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