Given the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country, Indian Railways has geared up to provide 5,231 Covid care centers to state authorities. The Railways has so far deployed 204 isolation coaches meant for coronavirus-infected people in four states, including 54 at Delhi's Shakurbasti railway station maintenance depot. It will deploy the remaining Covid care centers to states based on their demands.
Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav on Monday said that Covid isolation coaches will be deployed when the health infrastructure of various states gets exhausted due to the rise in cases across the country. Yadav said that suspected and positive COVID-19 patients will be kept in separate Covid Coaches wherever they are allocated.
As per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), states like Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi have sent the requisition to Railways to allocate these coaches their State/UTs. While Uttar Pradesh has asked for 240 such coaches for 24 locations, Telangana has requisitioned 60 for three places and Delhi has asked for 10 such coaches as COVID-19 cases in India surpassed the three lakh-mark.
Seventy coaches have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh -- 10 each in Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Varanasi, Bhadohi, Faizabad, Saharanpur, Mirzapur and Jhansi.
In national capital Delhi, fifty-four coaches with over 800 beds have been deployed at Shakurbasti railway station. No isolation coaches or beds are in use so far in Delhi.
In Telangana, sixty coaches have been deployed -- 20 each in Secunderabad, Kachguda and Adilabad and 20 coaches in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada.
Sustaining the fight against coronavirus, Railways has decided to send its 5,231 Covid Care Centers at 215 stations across the country to meet the increasing demand for beds. There will be 10 coaches in each train with patient capacity of 16 per coach, as per Ministry of Railways.
Railways to provide healthcare facilities in 85 out of these 215 stations, while in remaining 130 stations, states to request COVID care coaches only if they agree to provide staff and essential medicines. Indian Railways has kept 158 stations ready with watering and charging facility and 58 stations with watering facility for these COVID Care centers. The COVID care coaches will be under the complete care of the chief medical officer of the state government, in the states where they will be deployed.
The ministry on June 11 said that the coaches can be used for very mild cases that can be clinically assigned to the Covid Care centers as per guidelines issued by MoHFW. These coaches can be used in areas where State has exhausted the facilities and needs to augment capacities for isolation of both suspect and confirmed Covid cases. These facilities are part of the integrated Covid plan developed by MoHFW and NITi Ayog.
By Chitranjan Kumar