Demand returns for Covid Care coaches in railways
Amid increasing Covid-19 cases, the Maharashtra Government is the first state to approach the Indian Railways seeking isolation coaches to treat patients.
Nandurbar district administration in Maharashtra has sought around 95 coaches and 1,500 beds from Western Railways. The railways agreed to provide coaches which will be stationed as per the requirement of the administration, said an official in the railways.
Other states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh also enquired about the availability of isolation coaches. The railways said it is ready to provide such coaches as and when demand comes from the state government, said the official.
The railways had converted its idle coaches into isolation coaches to treat patients with mild symptoms. These coaches can be used when states have 'exhausted the facilities', the railways said.
The railways prepared 5,231 railway coaches last year but only 3 states — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh — used a total of 813 Covid coaches and around 900 patients were treated through them last year, according to data from the national transporter.
Three states together have been provided more than 12,000 additional beds through these coaches, official data shows.
However, due to lack of demand, the railways subsequently reconverted more than 55 per cent of the Covid-19 coaches into normal ones and mostly utilised on Shramik Special trains.