GUWAHATI, April 14 - Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has completed the process of creating isolation coaches for use during contingency as part of its effort to help the government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
�In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Indian Railways is making an allout effort to supplement the healthcare efforts of the Government of India. The spectrum of steps include modification of passenger coaches as isolation coaches, equipping the existing railway hospitals to meet the COVID-19 needs, earmarking of hospital beds to meet any contingency, and recruitment of additional doctors and paramedics, among other steps. NFR has also contributed its share by undertaking various initiatives during the nationwide lockdown period,� said Subhanan Chanda, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NFR.
He said that NFR has already modified 315 coaches as isolation coaches, comprising a total of over 2,500 isolation beds, for placement in various locations. These coaches are equipped with basic facilities needed for isolation as per the guidelines issued by the Railway Board.
The coaches are equipped with mosquito nets, charging points for mobiles and laptops, and space for paramedics.
�Each isolation coach consists of eight beds, one bathroom, and three toilets for the use of patients. If needed, more coaches can be modified as isolation coaches. These isolation coaches are of great significance as the existing isolation beds in various hospitals might prove to be insufficient in case of contingency and building new hospitals is not possible within a short time. As such, during emergency, these coaches will come in handy for the health departments,� said Chanda.
So far, 20 coaches each have been modified at Katihar and New Jalpaiguri area under the Katihar division, while 25 coaches have been modified at Alipurduar Junction area under the Alipurduar division and 30 coaches have been modified at Dibrugarh under the Tinsukia division.
�In addition, 10 coaches at Agartala, 30 coaches at Silchar, and 50 coaches each at Guwahati and Kamakhya have been modified under the Lumding division. Another 50 coaches have been modified at New Bongaigaon Railway Workshop and kept under the Rangiya division, while 30 coaches have been modified at Dibrugarh Railway Workshop and kept under the Tinsukia division. So, altogether 2,520 isolation beds in coaches are ready with NFR in different states and locations. All these coaches are ready for movement and deployment as and when instructions are received from the appropriate health authority of the Government of India,� Chanda said. He added that these beds were in addition to the 170 isolation beds which are ready at different railway hospitals across the NFR zone.
�Moreover, 811 beds for quarantine have also been kept ready for use in different locations in NFR. All these facilities will be made available as mandated by the Government of India and the respective state governments to those in need,� said Chanda.