New Delhi/Bhopal: The railways reached the milestone of transporting 10,000 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen on its 'Oxygen Express' trains on Monday morning, and the service now covers 13 states, Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma said.
Launched in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, the service started on April 19 when seven empty trucks left Mumbai to be loaded with liquid medical oxygen (LMO).
"We reached the milestone of carrying 10,000 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen on Monday morning on 'Oxygen Express'... 'Oxygen Express' delivered oxygen to 13 states," Sharma said.
He said that the railways has delivered over 10,300 tonnes of LMO in more than 600 tankers to various states. 'Oxygen Express' trains have been delivering nearly 800 tonnes of LMO each day for the last few days, Sharma said.
"Despite the cyclone (Tauktae), the railways ran early this morning two Oxygen Expresses from Gujarat to beat high winds and deliver 150 tonnes of oxygen… while one of them left from Vadodara at 4 am with two RO-RO trucks and 45 tonnes of LMO for delivery in the Delhi region, the other left Hapa at 5.30 am with six tankers loaded with 106 tonnes of oxygen relief for deliveries for Uttar Pradesh and the Delhi region,” Railway Board chairman said.
The railways also dispatched the first 'Oxygen Express' from Bokaro to Punjab. This is set to reach Phillaur at 7 pm on Monday with two tankers of 41.07 tonnes of oxygen.
Criss-crossing the country, the Indian Railways is picking up oxygen from places like Hapa and Mundra in the west and Rourkela, Durgapur, Jamshedpur and Angul in the east, and then delivering it to Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Telangana, Punjab, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in complex operational route planning scenarios, Sharma said.
The trains technical stoppages have been reduced to one minute for crew changes over different sections, he said. Nearly 160 'Oxygen Express' trains have completed their journey so far.
Till now, nearly 3,734 tonnes of LMO has been unloaded in Delhi, nearly 2,652 tonnes in Uttar Pradesh, 521 tonnes in Maharashtra, 431 tonnes in Madhya Pradesh, 1,290 tonnes in Haryana , 564 tonnes in Telangana, 40 tonnes in Rajasthan and 361 tonnes in Karnataka.
Two hundred tonnes of LMO has been so far unloaded in Uttarakhand, 231 tonnes in Tamil Nadu, 40 tonnes in Punjab and 118 tonnes in Kerala. Sharma also said that the Railways has deployed isolation coaches as per the request of state governments.
The Railway Board chairman said as of now, in Gujarat, there are 13 coaches with 208 beds in Sabarmati and seven coaches with 96 beds in Chandlodiya.
In Uttar Pradesh, 10 coaches each have been deployed in Faizabad, Bhadohi, Varanasi, Bareli and Nazibabad, 10 coaches have been stationed in Dimapur in Nagaland, in Assam, 21 coaches are in Guwahati, 20 coaches each in Badarpur and Dibrugarh while 10 coaches have been deployed in New Tinsukhia.
In Tripura, 20 coaches have been stationed in Agartala, he said. Earlier, the railways had deployed, 50 coaches in Sakurbasti and 25 coaches in Anand Vihar in Delhi, 24 coaches at Nandurbar, 12 coaches in Ajni and 24 coaches at Palghar in Maharashtra. In Madhya Pradesh, it has deployed 20 coaches in Bhopal and 22 coaches in Tihi, Indore.