GUWAHATI, April 8 - With the government putting utmost emphasis on transportation and distribution of essential commodities during the ongoing nationwide lockdown, the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has managed to achieve 100 per cent safe movement of freight trains across all its five divisions.
�The Railways is working round the clock to ensure that there is no scarcity of essential items at any place during the lockdown period. Here in the NFR zone we are ramping up transportation of essentials. We have been able to ensure 100 per cent safe movement of freight trains in all our divisions under the zone,� a senior NFR official told this newspaper.
He added that this has been achieved despite the zonal railways having been forced to work only with staff of selected departments and verticals.
�Even while maintaining freight services we are taking all precautions. To reduce the possibility of spreading Covid-19 amongst our employees, only skeletal staff from the essential categories that are directly connected with train operations are on their job. This is a challenging situation for all of us as hundreds of freight and parcel-loaded trains are in operation within our system,� he said.
Over 200 freight train rakes loaded with foodgrains, salt, sugar, potato, edible oil, fodder, fertiliser and other items have been run by the NFR since commencement of the lockdown.
�A major challenge for us at this juncture is ensuring safe running of trains. Freight trains have to move day and night without any interruption. For this reason monitoring the safety of on-duty officials and maintenance of assets and railway facilities are critical. Various department-wise and division-wise communication groups have been set up for providing real time information about train operation. This is helping us in maintaining prompt communication. As a result, any issue pertaining to safety in any location which may arise due to shortage of on-duty officials, is being promptly addressed,� said a source.
He added that movement of freight trains has now become smooth as the lines are open. �Due to absence of passenger train services the freight operations are now able to run without delay,� said the official.
Staff involved with carriage and wagon, track maintenance, signal and telecom, traffic, commercial, goods as well as loco crew are working regularly.
�We are working on increasing awareness among our staff on aspects like personal safety and prevention of human failure. Officials are holding regular interactions with field staff on safety-related issues to boost their morale. Sanitization of train engines, guard cabins and crew rest room is being carried out regularly. Social distancing norms are being followed and frontline staff have been provided personal protection kits,� the official added.
NFR has also coordinated with the district and local administrations concerned for issuance of travel passes for the railway staff involved in essential duty. �We are also undertaking fitness checks of all on-duty staff and their family members frequently,� the official said.