Representational image (Photo: P Krishna Pradeep)
New Delhi: The railways had ferried over 60 lakh people in 4,450 Shramik special trains since May 1 and very few migrant workers had been left stranded now, said Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav, here on Monday,
"Now very few people are left behind. The railways with the state government will arrange for their return," Yadav said.
Speaking to reporters through video link, the Chairman said, the demand for Shramik special train had fallen in the last couple of days. Yadav said he had written to the state governments on June 3 and received requests for 171 Shramik special trains. "Between June 4 and June 14, we operated 222 Shramik special trains," he said and assured states of providing trains within 24 hours of the request.
Before May 25, the railways was operating over 250 trains to ferry the stranded workers.
On the Covid-19 isolation ward coaches, Yadav said, "The initiative was taken to supplement the state governments' requirement for the Covid-19 beds. The railways has converted 5,231 coaches into isolation ward coaches."
Request from Telangana, Delhi and UP for the Covid-19 isolation ward coaches had been received, he added.
On high summer temperature in the national capital, he said, "The railways will arrange for roof-top insulation. Windows has been covered with mosquito nets. We have taken steps for proper ventilation."
On the IANS query about the amount spent on conversion of coaches, the Chairman said, "Very minimal amount has been spent for converting the sleeper coaches into isolation wards."
Slight alterations have been made in toilets to meet bathing needs. Curtains have been provided like the hospital beds, additional electricity points been made available to support the medical equipment and hold oxygen cylinders.
"All these items are reusable. We have provided all facilities for Covid-19 patients in these coaches if all other options have been exhausted," he said.
On plans of starting new trains besides the 230 trains, he said the railways was monitoring the Covid-19 situation across the country. Any decision on new trains would be taken in consultation with the state governments, he added.