Indian Railways, in coordination with Central Ministries and State Governments, is geared up to meet the challenge of providing protection to its front line medical workers and other operational staff persons, from the COVID 19 pandemic. It is using all its resources in a coordinated manner to create and upgrade its facilities.
Railway workshops took up the challenge and manufactured PPE coveralls, sanitiser, masks, cots in-house. The raw material for the manufacturing of these items was also procured by the field units. 1.91 lakh PPE gowns, 66.4 kl sanitiser, 7.33 lakh masks etc. have been manufactured by Indian Railways till June 24, 2020. PPE coverall target for June and July are fixed as 1.5 lakhs each which is likely to be revised upwards.
To strengthen the preparedness of Railway, PPE kits (22 lakhs), N95 Masks (22.5 lakh), Hand sanitiser 500 ml (2.25 lakh) and other items were centrally placed by northern Railway on M/s HLL Life Care (PSU under MoHFW), for requirements of all Railway Units.
50 Railway Hospitals as COVID Dedicated Hospitals and COVID Dedicated Health Centres has been designed by the Ministry of Railways. Facilities at these hospitals were upgraded through the procurement of medical equipment and other items to meet the challenge of COVID Pandemic.
Protective gears like PPE coverall, masks, sanitisers and types of equipment like ventilators were in extremely short supply globally, during the initial phase of COVID-19.
5231 Railway coaches have already been converted to isolation coaches to serve as the COVID Care Centres to augment the capacity of health infrastructure in the country. 960 coaches have so far been placed in service at several locations based on the requests received from the States. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already issued a guidance document on appropriate management of suspect/ confirmed cases on Railway coaches- COVID Care Centres.
The Railway could also continue its required procurement due to its digital supply chain, and all material required for pandemic management could be arranged.