2nd Oxygen Express reaches Uttar Pradesh with 60,000 litres of life saving gas
The second Oxygen Express loaded with 60,000 litres of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) reached Charbagh Railway Station in Lucknow on Monday morning to meet a shortage of the life-sustaining gas in hospitals treating severe Covid-19 patients across Uttar Pradesh. The train, loaded with four oxygen-tankers, each 15,000 litres in capacity, left Bokaro in Jharkhand at around 2pm on Sunday, said officials.
Two of the four tankers to have arrived on the Indian Railways’ second Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) service, immediately left for Jhansi and Bareilly (one tanker for each destination) while the remaining two were stationed in Lucknow to meet the increased oxygen demand in the state capital. Ready to drive trailer- truck units with pre-mounted oxygen tankers, roll-on and roll-off the flat railway wagons, saving precious time when hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake. The first RORO Oxygen Express, loaded with 30,000 litres of LMO, had arrived in the state on Saturday, said Sanjay Tripathi, divisional railway manager (DRM), Lucknow, Northern Railways
The DRM said, one more Oxygen Express, loaded with 75,000 litres of the life-saving gas is expected to arrive in the state on Tuesday as part of state government’s Operation Oxygen. Health minister JP Singh said the Central government had allocated 753 metric tonne of oxygen for the state.
Lucknow alone logged 5,187 fresh Covid-19 cases and 14 more deaths on Sunday, pushing up the death toll in the city to 1,654. Whereas Uttar Pradesh reported 35,614 fresh Covid-19 cases and 208 deaths, taking the number of infections to 1.086mn and the death toll to 11,165, since early July last year, according to the health department data.
Under Operation Oxygen, Railways was requested to transport LMO from Jharkhand, Bengal and Odisha in around 40 oxygen tankers roped in from across the state.
“(Railways) being two times faster.. [in] LMO [transportation] [compared to] road, we approached Railways to bring in Oxygen from Jharkhand Bengal and Odisha to bring relief to UP districts at the earliest,” said Awanish Kumar Awasthi, additional chief secretary (Home), who was supervising the entire train operation.
Railways’ RORO service has also procured oxygen for Maharashtra and its services have also been requested by other states that are severely hit by Covid-19’s second wave.
Detailing the intricacies of the operation, Railways said in a statement: “Liquid oxygen, being a cryogenic cargo, has many limitations like maximum speed at which it can be carried, maximum acceleration and deceleration and loading restrictions like availability of liquid oxygen tankers and loading ramps. Route mapping also takes care of the maximum clearances available along the route.”