Guwahati, June 17: Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) plans to restore 72 percent of its passenger train services by mid-July and the situation is being monitored for the introduction of more trains in consultation with the respective state governments, NFR general manager Anshul Gupta said on Thursday.
Despite COVID-19 related restrictions, NFR is at present running 49 pairs of special mail or express trains and five pairs of local passenger trains per day for people who are in urgent need of travel, Gupta said at a virtual interaction with media persons. Running of 21 more pairs of special mail or express trains have already been notified, the NFR general manager said.
During the second wave of the pandemic, the NFR has taken the initiative to meet the demand of essential and other commodities, by loading 1.480 MT till May this year as compared to 0.802 MT done in the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 84.5 percent NF Railway also released 11,659 freight rakes during 2020-21 against 9,731 rakes the previous year, registering a growth of 20 per cent while 1,135 rakes were unloaded in May this year against 708 rakes last year recording an increase of 60.31 percent.
Nineteen new stations were opened for the handling of goods traffic and 12 new stations for the handling of parcel traffic by the NFR which also provided 24X7 loading and unloading facilities in 23 goods-shed to help the economy, avoid scarcity of material and generate income for labourers involved in the process, Gupta said.
In a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19, the NFR is making all-out efforts to supplement the health care initiatives of the state governments, and these include equipping the existing railway hospitals for treatment of coronavirus patients, installing oxygen plants in hospitals, and organising vaccination drives for its employees, the NFR general manager said.
The NF Railway has provided facilities for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in six of its railway hospitals with a total of 354 beds and each of these special wards has all the basic healthcare facilities and more than 1,250 coronavirus patients have been treated in these hospitals since April 2021. The NFR is also planning to set up seven oxygen plants in its various hospitals while 19 vaccination centers are in operation all over its jurisdiction.
Nearly 95 per cent of RPF and 72 percent of its health care workers have received both doses of the vaccine and 64 percent serving employees have got the first dose, he said. Seven Oxygen Express trains have already arrived in Assam with 560 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and the other northeastern states are also being provided with this supply, Gupta said.
The NFR operated 103 Kisan Rails, including 64 incoming trains from other railways, to provide cheaper and faster transportation of agricultural produce to help the farmers of the Northeast so that they can easily send their local produce to bigger markets in the country and abroad. The NFR transported jackfruits and pineapples of Tripura by trains to Guwahati, Delhi, and Kolkata for bigger markets in the country and abroad, he added.
Gupta also said that the allotment of 5 MHz spectrum to Indian Railways by the Centre will increase the safety and security of train operations in a big way and enable Railways to use the latest indigenous technologies such as Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and others.