Mumbai: In view of the shortage of isolation wards as the number of coronavirus cases rises, the Central and Western Railways propose to convert 482 and 410 coaches respectively, into isolation wards, at a cost of Rs 2 lakh each. For this purpose, Indian Railways has allocated Rs 100 crore from its CoVID-19 fund. Most of these coaches will be made in Mumbai.
On Monday, the railway board directed 17 zonal railways to convert 5,000 coaches, in the first phase of the initiative. According to zonal railways, instructions have been issued after consultation with the Armed Forces Medical Service, the medical department of zonal railways and Ayushman Bharat.
Railway officials said they will use non-AC Link Hofmann Bush (LHB) coaches, which are preferably 15 years old. Each quarantine coach will have nine cabins, with the first cabin towards the bathroom to be separated using two curtains and earmarked as a storage or paramedic area. Two oxygen cylinders will also be provided with appropriate clamping facilities in this area.
“One Indian style toilet is to be converted into a bathing room. It is to be equipped with a bucket, mug and soap dispenser. Taps with a lift type handle would be provided in washbasins. Similar tap to be provided at proper height so that the bucket can be filled,” reads the directive.
“Zonal railways have been asked to give a time period in which they will convert the assigned number of coaches into these quarantine/isolation facilities, and start work immediately,” said an official. On CR, the work is being undertaken by Matunga workshop, while on WR, this work will be carried out at the Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel workshops, which will ready 40 and 60 coaches respectively.