‘Over 1900 personnel succumbed to Covid-19 since last year’: Railway Board chairman
Indian Railways’ 1,952 personnel have succumbed to Covid-19 since last year, Railway Board chairman Suneet Sharma said on Monday, adding that roughly 1,000 cases per day are currently being reported in the organisation.
“Railway is not different from any other state or territory and we are also getting covid cases. We are in the business of transport. We have to move freight and people. Around 1,000 cases are reported daily. We have our hospitals. We have augmented the number of beds, we have built oxygen plants in rail hospitals. We take care of our staff…,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
“As of now, we have 4,000 beds currently occupied by staff and their families. Our effort is to see that they recover quickly. As of yesterday, 1952 rail employees have died due to Covid-19 since March last year,” he added.
With a workforce of nearly 1.3 million, the Indian railways is one of the largest employers in the world.
Last week, railways’ union - the All India Railwaymenś Federation - wrote to railway minister Piyush Goyal demanding compensation at par with frontline workers for railwaymen who lost their lives while working amid the Covid-19 crisis.
In the letter, they said that these personnel deserved ₹50 lakh as compensation, the same as that announced for frontline workers, and not ₹25 lakh which is paid to them.
In the letter, Shiva Gopal Mishra, general secretary of the All India Railwaymenś Federation, said that while more than one lakh have been infected by the virus, 65,000 have recovered and joined their duties while 1,500 have lost their lives due to the coronavirus disease.
Sharma said that the Railways was concerned about the safety of all railwaymen and took all necessary steps to minimise their exposure.
Speaking on the Oxygen Express, Sharma said that the Railways has delivered nearly 4700 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) in more than 295 tankers to various states across the country since April 19.
On Sunday, Oxygen Express delivered a record 831 tonnes of LMO, a record for one single day. So far, 75 Oxygen Express´ have already completed their journey.