Indian Railways, in coordination with other Ministries and State Governments, is totally geared up to meet the challenge of providing protection to it’s front line medical workers and other operational staff persons, from the COVID 19 pandemic. It is using all its resources in coordinated manner to create/upgrade its facilities.
Railway workshops took up the challenge and manufactured PPE coveralls, sanitizer, masks, cots in-house. Raw material for manufacturing of these items was also procured by the field units. 1.91 lakh PPE gowns, 66.4 kl sanitizer, 7.33 lakh masks etc have been manufactured by Indian Railways till 24/06/2020. PPE coverall target for the month of June and July are fixed as 1.5 lakhs each which is likely to be revised upwards. During the lock down period, centralized procurement and distribution of the raw material and manufactured products throughout the Railway network was a herculean task accomplished under testing circumstances. Northern Railway was nominated for centralized procurement of raw material required for manufacture of PPE coverall gowns which was a critical component with respect to quality. All in-house manufactured products satisfy all applicable quality standards.
To further strengthen the preparedness of Railway, an order for PPE coverall (22 lakhs), N95 Masks (22.5 lakh), Hand sanitizer 500 ml (2.25 lakh) and other items was centrally placed by northern Railway on M/s HLL Life Care (PSU under MoHFW), for requirements of all Railway Units.
Ministry of Railways has designated 50 Railway Hospitals as COVID Dedicated Hospitals and COVID Dedicated Health Centers. Facilities at these hospitals were upgraded through procurement of medical equipments and other items to meet the challenge of COVID Pandemic.
Protective gears like PPE coverall, masks, sanitizers and equipments like ventilators were in extreme 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 Centers 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 guidance document on appropriate management of suspect/ confirmed cases on Railway coaches- COVID Care Centres.
Railways supply chain, though affected due to the pandemic, but it did not affect Railways’ operations and maintenance due to operations being on the lower scale and stocks being available in our depots. Out vendors are also being supported to maintain their supply chain. Necessary instructions have also been issued to field units in this respect. Railway could also continue its required procurement due to its digital supply chain and all material required for pandemic management could be arranged.