New Delhi: Soon after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that 500 railway isolation coaches will be deployed in Delhi for Covid-19 patients, the Railways said it has deployed 204 of such coaches in four states so far after, with 54 coaches being deployed at Delhi’s Shakurbasti railway station maintenance depot, officials said.
Railway officials said that the number in the capital will be scaled up to 500 in the coming days.
According to Railway Ministry officials, states like Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi requisitioned these coaches two months after the national transporter converted over 5,231 of its non-air-conditioned coaches into COVID care centres.
Officials said that while 70 such coaches have been deployed in Uttar Pradesh — 10 each in Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Varanasi, Bhadohi, Faizabad, Saharanpur, Mirzapur and Jhansi, 54 have been deployed at Delhi’s Shakurbasti.
An official said that 60 coaches have been deployed in Telangana — 20 each in Secunderabad, Kachguda and Adilabad, while 20 coaches are in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada.
While Uttar Pradesh has asked for 240 such coaches for 24 stations, Telangana has requisitioned 60 for three places and Delhi has asked for 10 such coaches as Covid-19 cases in India crossed 3.2 lakh mark with 9,195 fatalities due to the pandemic.
On May 7, the Union Health Ministry had said that train coaches will be turned into coronavirus care centres and parked at 215 stations across the country as part of preparations for a sudden spurt in Covid-19 cases.
According to the Railway Ministry, these coaches can be used in areas where the state has exhausted the facilities and needs to augment capacities for isolation of both suspect and confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The Railway Ministry official said that out of these 215 stations, the Railways will provide healthcare facilities in 85 stations. “In the rest 130 stations, states to requisition Covid-19 care coaches only if they are able to provide staff and essential medicines,” he said.
He said the railways has kept 158 stations ready with watering and charging facility and 57 stations with watering facility for the Covid-19 care centres.