India on Friday recorded over 2 lakh Covid cases in the last 24 hours. India has recorded two lakh Covid cases for two consecutive days. Keeping in view the growing number of Covid cases across the country, the Indian Railways, which has prepared over 4,000 coaches as isolation wards for patients, has provided 20 coaches to Maharashtra's Nandurbar district.
While responding to a question about the number of train coaches deployed as Covid-19 care isolation coach, Railways Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma said, "Last year we prepared 4,000 isolation coaches for Covid-19 patients. And till date, we have provided 20 coaches in Nandurbar district in Maharashtra." He said that Nandurbar has demanded 100 isolation ward coaches from the railways and in the coming days more coaches will be provided.
The Indian Railways had last year converted over 4,000 coaches as isolation wards for Covid-19 patients with proper facilities for the medical team and the infected persons. These coaches have been placed at several stations across the country. Sharma said that last year the railways had provided over 800 isolation ward coaches to the Delhi, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh governments.
When asked about the extra rush seen at several stations in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and other parts of the country, the Chairman assured that the national transporter is keeping a close watch on the situation.
He said: "We are keeping a close watch on stations, in all stations at Mumbai, Gujarat's Surat, Karnataka's Bengaluru, and others, and wherever we are finding high demand we have authorized our general managers to operate more trains."
He assured that there will no dearth of services and the situation is quite normal now particularly in Mumbai, Surat, and Bengaluru. Sharma said that services of the trains will continue, and wherever there are demands they will operate extra services.
When asked about the arrangements for Covid protocols in trains and railway premises, Sharma said that the railways through its e-ticketing portal of IRCTC and through announcements at railway stations and through displays are spreading awareness among the people to follow Covid-19 guidelines.
"And as a precaution, we have stopped providing bed linen, blankets in air-conditioned coaches since last year, and we are only allowing ready-to-eat food in the trains," he said.
Citing the achievement in the freight business of the national transporter, Sharma said, "Last year we have loaded 1232.64 million tonnes of freight, which is highest in the history of railways."
"And by April 15 in this financial year, railways loaded 54.4 million tonnes of freight as compared to 30.8 million tonnes during the same period last year and the revenue from freight till April 15, 2021, is Rs 5,429 crore as compared to Rs 2,816 crore last year during the same period," he said.
He said that the railways are also carrying essential commodities. "We are continuing to maintain our services even during the Covid-19 pandemic. Railways will provide whatever demand is there. Entire railways fraternity is dedicated to serving the requirement of the nation," he added.