Indian Railways continues in its endeavour to ensure availability of essential commodities through its freight and parcel services during the nationwide lock down due to COVID-19 and after that. In order to ensure the timely delivery of essential commodities for citizens and goods vital for energy & infrastructure sector, Indian Railways has maintained its freight corridors fully functional inspite of the COVID 19 lockdown and has been successful in meeting the needs of both the households sector and industry.
In the month of May from 1st May 2020 to 31st May 2020 Indian Railways has transported 82.27 million tonnes of essential commodities compare to 65.14 million tonnes from 1st April 2020 to 30th April 2020 which is more than 25% higher.
In total from 1st April 2020 to 9th June 2020 Indian Railways has transported 175.46 million tonnes of essential commodities through its uninterrupted 24X7 freight trains operations across the country.
From 24.03.2020 to 09.06.2020 more than 31.90 lacs wagons carried supplies to keep the supply chain functional. Of these, more than 17.81 lacs wagons carried essential commodities like food grains, salt, sugar, milk, edible oil, onions, fruits & vegetables, petroleum products, coal, fertilizers etc. throughout the country. During the period 1st April 2020 to 9th June, 2020 Railways loaded 12.56 million tonnes of food grains as compared to 6.7 million tonnes in the same period last year.
Apart from this, from 22.03.2020 to 9.06.2020 total 3,861 Parcel Trains have also been run out by Indian Railways of which 3,755 are time-tabled trains. Total 1,37,030 tonnes of consignment have been loaded in these Parcel Trains. Transportation of essential items like medical supplies, medical equipment, food, etc in small parcel sizes is very important during the lockdown in the wake of COVID19 and after that.
In order to fill in this vital need, Indian Railways has made railway parcel vans available for quick mass transportation by e-commerce entities and other customers including state governments. Railways are running time-tabled Parcel Special trains on select routes, to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential items.
Zonal Railways are regularly identifying and notifying routes for these Parcel Special trains. Presently these trains are being operated on ninety-six (96) routes. These routes have been identified to include:
i) Regular connectivity between major cities of the country, viz Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, & Hyderabad.
ii) Connectivity from state-capitals/important cities to all parts of the state.
iii) Ensuring connectivity to the North-eastern part of the country.
iv) Supply of milk and dairy products from surplus regions (Gujarat, Aandhra Pradesh) to high demand regions.
v) Supply of other essential items (agricultural inputs, medicines, medical equipment, etc) from producing regions to other parts of the country.
Indian Railways Staff are working at various good sheds, stations and control offices on 24/7 basis to ensure that the supply of essential items for the nation do not get affected. Locomotive pilots and guards are efficiently running the trains. Key maintenance staff of track, signaling, overhead equipment, locomotives, coaches and wagons are maintaining the infrastructure in good fettle to ensure smooth running of freight trains.
Institutional mechanism put in place to escalate issues faced by Zonal Railways in goods train operations to Control Room Set up by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on real time basis through Railway officers as part of the MHA Control Room.