Clamour for beds, but no takers for converted coaches

A train compartment converted into a COVID-19 care centre in Bengaluru.  

The demand for beds has never been higher, but at a time when people are struggling to get hospitalised, the South Western Railways’ (SWR) efforts to treat patients in coaches converted into care centres have no takers.

The converted coaches have remained unused for over three months despite a sharp surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in cities like Bengaluru.

In April, the SWR had converted 320 coaches into COVID-19 centres at a cost of ₹30,000 per coach. They were converted as per the prototype guidelines of Railway Board with the installation of oxygen cylinders and other medical equipment. The SWR had maintained that the coaches are clean, sanitised regularly and were hygienic.

No enquiries yet

When asked about non-utilisation of these facilities, E. Vijaya, Chief PRO, SWR, said, “Coaches have been converted as per the specifications of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. We have not received enquiries from the State for using these converted coaches. Whenever there is demand, as per the guidelines, the SWR will provide electricity, water and other essentials. The department concerned has to deploy medical staff to use the facility.”

In the first phase, the SWR had converted over 60 coaches into care centres in the Bengaluru division.

As there was no demand, in the last week of May, the SWR started using 160 of converted coaches to ferry migrant workers in Shramik Trains.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:37:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/clamour-for-beds-but-no-takers-for-converted-coaches/article32133661.ece

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