Indian Railways, the lifeline of the nation, has lost nearly 2,000 employees due to the coronavirus so far, while about 1,000 are getting infected on a daily basis.
With about 13 lakh employees, the national transporter is operational round-the-clock to carry passengers and goods across the country.
According to the Railways, as many as 1,952 employees have succumbed to coronavirus so far and about 1,000 are getting infected on a daily basis.
Considered to be the frontline warriors amid the pandemic, Railwaymen involved in passenger and freight service are regularly exposed to the coronavirus.
"Railways is not different from any other state or territory and we are also getting Covid cases. We are in the business of transport and have to move freight and people. Around 1,000 (Covid) cases are reported daily, Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma said in a presser recently.
Explaining in detail about the steps to protect staff, Sharma said, "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. As of now, we have 4,000 beds occupied by staff and their families. Our effort is to see that they recover quickly. As of yesterday, 1,952 rail employees have died due to Covid-19 since March last year."
He further said the Railways was concerned about the safety of all railwaymen and took all necessary steps to minimise their exposure.
A couple of days ago, the All-India Railwaymen's Federation had written to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal demanding compensation at par with frontline workers for railwaymen who lost their lives while working during the coronavirus crisis.
In the letter, AIRF said the kin of the deceased deserved Rs 50 lakh as compensation, same as that announced for those of frontline workers, and not Rs 25 lakh, which is currently paid.
Speaking on the Oxygen Express, Sharma said that the Railways has delivered nearly 4,700 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) in more than 295 tankers to various states across the country since April 19.
On Sunday, Oxygen Expresses delivered 831 tonnes of LMO, a record for a single day.
In its endeavour to reach destinations without delay, 75 Oxygen Expresses have already completed their journey so far.
Till now, 293 tonnes of LMO have been offloaded in Maharashtra, 1,334 tonnes in Uttar Pradesh, 306 tonnes in Madhya Pradesh, 598 tonnes in Haryana, 123 tonnes in Telangana, 40 tonnes in Rajasthan and 2,011 tonnes in Delhi.
The first Oxygen Express to Karnataka has also started its journey from Tatanagar in Jharkhand and is on the way to Bengaluru with 120 tonnes of oxygen.
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