Pune: The isolation coaches which were created by Pune railway division are now being converted into Shramik trains. As many as 60 isolation coaches were made so that if need be, these coaches can be used as a quarantine facility.
Among these 60, 30 isolation coaches are now turned into Shramik Train. As the Ministry of Railway had announced in April that around 5200 coaches will be made ready for isolation wards, accordingly 60 coaches were prepared by Pune railway division.
On May 21, an order was issued in which the railway board expressed its desire that 60 per cent of isolation coaches (around 3100) prepared for the COVID-19 cases can be used by adding them to Shramik Special trains. Thus, the Pune railway division is using 30 of its coaches for this purpose.
What are the special features of these coaches?
These non-air conditioned bogies will not be converted into normal bogies, instead, they will be used in their existing form. Therefore, the Railways have now decided to use them in Shramik Special Trains,” said Central Railway Chief Spokesperson Shivaji Sutar.
While converting the bogies into isolation wards, the middle berth was removed from them and the bottom of the compartment was filled with plywood. Officials said that it cost the Railways about Rs two lakhs to design each bogie as an isolation ward. Similarly, if they want to convert them back to normal non-air-conditioned bogies it would cost around Rs one lakh per bogie.
However, the decision to attach these isolation wards was taken after the number of passengers travelling with the Shramik trains was increased. According to the sources, “Earlier it was decided to run the train with maximum 1000 passengers, but after a few days, the number of passengers increased from 1000 to 1300-1400 every day.”
The state needs around 80 trains to run every day but as of now, only 40 are running under the Shramik Special trains. The purpose of the running of the train is to send back the migrant workers who are stranded in the city. The Pune railway division has so far operated more than 100 such trains under the guidance of Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Renu Shram and proper coordination with the officers of the state administration. The 100th Shramik Special train departed on Saturday at 6 pm from Pune station to Khagaria in Bihar.
According to the press statement released by the Pune railway division spokesperson Manoj Jhawar, “Out of these hundred trains 54 Shramik special trains have been left from Pune station itself and rest are departed from Kolhapur, Satara, Miraj and Uruli for Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Jammu, Manipur, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
More than 1.30 lakh passengers departed from Pune division till now and more than 70000 sent from Pune station. Before leaving Pune, the necessary facilities such as water, electricity, fans are being checked and dispatched. All the workers were served food packets, water bottles before leaving the station. Passengers are being told to follow the social distance while travelling, take proper care of cleanliness, not messing up the coaches, not spitting around and apply masks on the face.