By Nishant Ketu
New Delhi [India], April 23 (ANI): Amid reports of shortage of liquid medical oxygen in the country, states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi have requested the India Railways for the movement of liquid oxygen by rail wagons, said Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma on Friday.
Addressing media via video conferencing, Sharma said Indian Railways is coordinating with the Delhi government very closely and has asked them to keep their tankers ready.
The Railway Board Chairman said that on April 15, Indian Railways received a request from the Maharashtra government to explore the feasibility of transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen tanker by rail.
"It a big challenge. We had moved a few wagons on Ro-Ro pattern in Western parts of the country, where physical dimensions permitted us. But most of the oxygen plants are located on the Eastern side of the country and it was a challenge to move the tankers on our railway wagons where we had physical contraindications like height, curves, ghat section and platform canopies," he said.
"The moment we received the request on April 15, we immediately went to the drawing board and made our ramps and improved our transportation. We selected the tankers and wagons that can travel to all physical locations. We also mapped the entire route," he added.
As per Railways, on April 19, the first liquid medical oxygen express went from Mumbai to Vizag and returned via Nagpur to Nashik.
"On April 22, second liquid Oxygen Express went from Lucknow to Bokaro and is on its way back. Further trains are being provided for Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi," Sharma said.
As liquid oxygen is a cryogenic liquid, Railways has chalked out stringent safety protocols for its transportation.
Further talking about the Covid isolation and quarantine facility provided by Indian Railways, Sharma said there are 3,816 coaches available for quarantine in the country.
"There are 50 coaches (800 beds) in Delhi's Shakurbasti and 25 (400) coaches in Anand Vihar. No patient is admitted there currently. In Maharashtra, there are 21 coaches in Nandurbar (378 beds) where 32 patients are admitted," he added. (ANI)