New Delhi, May 10 (IANS): Since the Covid pandemic hit the country last year, more than 1,950 personnel of the Indian Railways have succumbed to the virus and around 1,000 are getting infected on a daily basis, officials said here on Monday.
The Railways is one of the largest employers not just in the country but in the world with around 13 lakh employees.
Addressing a press conference, Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma said, “Railway is not different from any other state or territory and we are also getting Covid cases. We are in the business of transport. We have to move freight and people. Around 1000 cases are reported daily. We have our hospitals. We have augmented the number of beds, we have built oxygen plants in rail hospitals. We take care of our staff.”
“As of now we have 4,000 beds currently occupied by staff and their families. Our effort is to see that they recover quickly. As of yesterday, 1,952 rail employees have died due to Covid 19 since March last year,” he said.
Sharma said that the Railways was concerned about the safety of all railwaymen and took all necessary steps to minimise their exposure.
Commenting on the Oxygen Express, Sharma said that the Railways had delivered nearly 4l700 Tonne of liquid medical oxygen in more than 295 tankers to various states across the country since April 19.
He said that on Sunday, the ‘Oxygen Express’ delivered 831 Tonne of LMO, a record for one single day.
So far, 75 ‘Oxygen Express’ trains have completed their journey.
Till now, 293 M Tonne of LMO has been offloaded in Maharashtra, 1334 Tonne in UP, 306 Tonne in MP, 598 Tonne in Haryana, 123 Tonne in Telangana, 40 Tonne in Rajasthan and 2011 Tonne in Delhi.
The first Oxygen Express to Karnataka has also started its journey from Tatanagar in Jharkhand and is on the way to Bengaluru with 120 Tonne of oxygen.
A few days ago, the All India Railwaymen Federation, a rail union, had written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal demanding compensation at par with frontline workers for railwaymen who lost their lives while working during the Covid crisis.
In the letter they said that these men deserved Rs 50 lakh as compensation, the same as announced for frontline workers and not Rs 25 lakh which is paid to them.
In the letter Shiva Gopal Mishra, General Secretary of the All India Railwaymen Federation said that while more than one lakh have been infected by the virus, 65,000 have recovered and joined their duties while 1,500 have lost their lives due to coronavirus.