Coronavirus Pandemic

India Covid crisis: Nearly 95,000 railway employees affected by virus

Web report/Mumbai
Filed on April 24, 2021
Photo: Reuters

The trains have been instrumental in transporting passengers as well as cargo like oxygen cylinders.

Indian Railways, which has been a key player in transporting hundreds of thousands of passengers and massive freight including oxygen cylinders, is now also facing the problem of employees getting infected with the Covid virus.

Suneet Sharma, the Railway board chairman and CEO, estimates that nearly 95,000 employees (of a total of 1.2 million) have been affected by Covid. “Not all require hospitalisation,” he said. “But we have lost lives as well.”

The management is in close touch with frontline workers — including drivers, guards, maintainers, station masters and ticket examiners — and motivating them, he said.

“We have already identified 72 hospitals of Indian Railways where our Covid-positive employees and their beneficiaries are being treated. More than 5,000 beds have been earmarked for these people.”

Indian Railways operates 17,000 trains daily for passengers and freight movement, transporting tens of thousands of people, many desperately running away from Covid-infected metros. Almost 80 per cent of its trains are running, including 90 per cent of its suburban services.

It is now operating trains that carry oxygen from many parts of eastern India to Delhi, Mumbai and other cities where demand is soaring.

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