Coronavirus Pandemic: Trains from Mumbai to be converted into isolation wards

Coronavirus Pandemic: Trains from Mumbai to be converted into isolation wards

As the number of cases rises in Maharashtra, the authorities are taking measures to avoid a shortage of isolation wards in the state. Alongside, Indian Railways is also taking measures to deal with the rise in the number of cases. The Central and Western Railways have proposed to convert 482 and 410 coaches respectively, into isolation wards, at a cost of ₹2 lakh each.

For which, Indian Railways has allocated ₹100 crore from its COVID-19 fund. Most of the coaches will be prepared in Mumbai. On Monday, the railway board directed 17 zonal railways to convert 5,000 coaches, as a part of the first phase of the initiative.

According to the railway officials, they will use non-AC Link Hofmann Bush (LHB) coaches, which are preferably 15 years old. Every quarantine coach will consist of nine cabins, with the first cabin towards the bathroom to be separated using two curtains. These will be earmarked as a storage or paramedic area. Railways will also provide two oxygen cylinders with appropriate clamping facilities in this area.

“One Indian style toilet is to be converted into a bathing room. It is to be equipped with a bucket, mug and soap dispenser. Taps with a lift-type handle would be provided in washbasins. Similar tap to be provided at proper height so that the bucket can be filled,” reads the directive issued by Railways.

According to an official, the zonal railways have been asked to provide an estimated time period in which they will turn the assigned number of coaches into these quarantine/isolation facilities. Once the transformation is carried out, the rail authority will start work immediately.

On Central Railway, the work is being undertaken by Matunga workshop, whereas on Western Railway, this work will be carried out at the Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel workshops. The Matunga workshop will ready 40 coaches whereas the Mahalaxmi and Lower Parel workshops will ready 60 coaches.

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