Mumbai: The Indian Railways on its 168th birth anniversary gave a big gift to the Maharashtra government. At least 100 Covid Care (CC) coaches will be made available by Indian Railways to the state government. There are already 21 such CC coaches with oxygen facility installed at Nandurbar station put into use since Thursday.
This comes at a time when the Maharashtra government is facing severe shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen and has asked all private hospitals with over 50 beds to set-up oxygen generation plants. On April 16, Free Press Journal reported about Covid care coaches put into action in the article ‘Western Railway hands over 21 Covid coaches to Maha govt, Unions oppose move’.
“Maharashtra is the first state to make demand for 100 Covid Care coaches. We have already installed over 20 such coaches in Nandurbar and they are in use. More shall be utilised and we have conveyed our readiness,” said Chairman and CEO of Railway Board, Suneet Sharma.
The Western Railway handed over the first lot of Covid are coaches to the Maharashtra government on Thursday. They even built a tent on the platform so as to cover the roof of the coaches to prevent ingress of sunlight and reduce heat. This will be for the first time in Maharashtra that the Covid Care coaches will be used owing to the surge in the second wave of Covid-19 across Maharashtra.
These coaches have heaps of hay sticking out of the windows to prevent heat from entering, there is a water cooler for which a common water pipeline has been provided for supply and connected with a tank above inter-connecting all 21 coaches. This train has been stabled next to the platform for easy access and there is oxygen provided to each bed.
The temperature inside these coaches will be 6-8 degrees lesser than the outside temperature. Each coach can attend 6-7 patients depending on the need. There are well over 450 coaches with oxygen that can cater to 11000 plus patients. In view of the pandemic, the Indian Railways had converted 892 CC coaches on Central and Western Railways. The Indian Railways has 4000 such CC coaches readied and positioned in 220 locations across the country. In 2020, the Indian Railways provided 800 plus CC coaches to the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The Central Railway had transformed 482 CC coaches at a cost of Rs 3.8 crore. Of the total 90 percent of it was later reconverted into regular Sleeper ones. The WR authorities created 410 CC coaches of which at least 128 of them are for Mumbai.