New Delhi: As many as 1.91 lakh PPE gowns, 66.4-kilo sanitizer and 7.33 lakh masks have been manufactured by Indian Railways till June 24. “Indian Railways, in coordination with other Ministries and state governments, is totally geared up to meet the challenge of providing protection to its front line medical workers and other operational staff persons, from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is using all its resources in a coordinated manner to create/upgrade its facilities,” read a statement from the Ministry of Railways. Railway workshops took up the challenge and manufactured PPE coveralls, sanitizer, masks, cots in-house. The raw material for the manufacturing of these items was also procured by the field units.
PPE coverall target for the month of June and July are fixed as 1.5 lakhs each which is likely to be revised upwards. During the lockdown period, centralized procurement and distribution of the raw material and manufactured products throughout the Railway network was a herculean task accomplished under testing circumstances, the statement said.
Northern Railway was nominated for centralized procurement of raw material required for the manufacture of PPE coverall gowns which was a critical component with respect to quality. All in-house manufactured products satisfy all applicable quality standards.
To further strengthen the preparedness of Railway, an order for PPE coverall (22 lakhs), N95 masks (22.5 lakh), Hand sanitizer 500 ml (2.25 lakh) and other items were centrally placed by northern Railway on HLL Life Care (PSU under MoHFW), for requirements of all Railway Units. Ministry of Railways has designated 50 Railway Hospitals as COVID dedicated hospitals and COVID dedicated health centres.
Facilities at these hospitals were upgraded through the procurement of medical equipment and other items to meet the challenge of COVID Pandemic. Protective gears like PPE coverall, masks, sanitizers and equipment like ventilators were in extremely short supply globally, during the initial phase of COVID-19. The statement noted that 5,231 railway coaches have already been converted to isolation coaches to serve as the COVID care centres to augment the capacity of health infrastructure in the country. 960 coaches have so far been placed in service at several locations based on the requests received from the States.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already issued a guidance document on appropriate management of suspect/ confirmed cases on Railway coaches- COVID Care Centres.