Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Indian Railway has come up with its unique solutions to fight the pandemic. Indian Railway has again and again proved its worth and its commitment to serve the nation. Whether it is a war or an emergency, it has always proved to be an asset for the country. Though the prime job of providing safe transport to passengers is shunted, Railways has not stopped. On one hand, Railway is using its penetrating network to transport essentials including medicines throughout the nation and on the other, railway workshops and production units have developed so many innovations to tackle and control the corona pandemic. From masks to low cost ventilators ‘Jeevan’ to isolation wards, Indian railways has come with so many innovations standing as one of the pillar in fighting COVID-19. Railway men of all ranks from staff to officers are contributing in this hour of crisis. Some of the innovations and initiatives are a must to know about.
Jeevan, the low cost ventilator is developed by the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala. The body of the ventilator has been made by the material available in the factory, which will cost only a fraction of what the regular ventilator costs. Currently, it is awaiting ICMR clearance to go into production. As told by the officials, this will cost only ₹ 10,000 without the compressor. After the clearance, RCF claims that it can produce 100 such ventilators a day. India may need somewhere 1,10,000-2,20,000 ventilators by May 15 in the worst case scenario. Somewhere 57000 ventilators are only available across as of now with a cost of ₹ 5 – 15 Lakh. Officials claim that the device can be further optimized to more compact size. The device provides control on breathing rate, expiratory ratio and he tidal volume – all key parameters of any ventilator.
Isolation Coaches, are being developed out of existing coaches with some modifications. The idea behind converting these was to ensure that in rural areas, and in regions where medical facilities are not available, care for COVID-19 patients could be provided.
A lot has been worked on technical side to make it a success. Bamboo sheets are used in side walls to reduce heat input to the cabin. Setups has been provided in a way that ventilators can also be used as when where is requirement. One toilet has been also converted to bathroom with shower. This will prove to be a boon to our country as it will supplement the beds in the hospitals where the beds are scarse. 5000 coaches are converted to 80000 isolation beds.
Railway is also considering if trains like lifeline express can be produced which would be a hospital on wheels just like accident relief trains with treatments and equipment specific to treat COVID-19.
Railway has used its production units and workshops to produce masks and PPEs to be supplied to all parts of the country. Chittaranjan Loco Works (CLW) manufactured in-house hospital beds and side drawers for COVID-19 isolation wards. In its workshops, Indian railways has produced over 2.8 lakh masks and 25,000 liters of sanitizers. Food is regularly being prepared across all the base kitchens of IRCTC which is further being distributed to the needy with the help of state administration. In addition to that, 13 lakh railway employees have contributed their one day salary to PM CARES fund. Not only the Railway men, their family members have also come forward. Wives of staff are working on individual level to prepare masks. Indian Railways is an organization who has always offered a helping hand in times of need and will continue to be so.