As entire Nation is fighting against the Corona virus pandemic, to break the chain of COVID19, Railways have stopped all passenger rail services across the nation. However, freight trains are running for supply of essential commodities such as milk, vegetables, food-grains etc, Central Railway has to work 24×7 to cater to the country’s needs in general and Mumbai’s needs in particular.
Sanjeev Mittal, General Manager, Central Railway in a message to the railwaymen said that for supply of essential commodities such as milk, vegetables, food-grains etc, we have to work 24×7 to cater to the country’s needs. We will have to play a crucial role during this difficult time and support in ensuring faster movement of freight trains.
He also said that Hon’ble Prime Minister on 24.03.2020 announced a 21-day nation-wide lock down urging citizens with folded hands to follow the directives to prevent further spread of Covid-19. Shri Mittal requested all to understand the seriousness of the circumstances and said that this is just the beginning of a long battle against COVID-19 and there is a long way to go. He also appealed all to follow social distancing for one’s and his family’s wellbeing.
Shri Shalab Goel, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division, who was at control office with respective Branch Officers to closely monitor the entire situation. The morale of staff is high as always and everyone has proved again that Mumbai Division can meettough challenge under any trying situation. Control office and other frontline staff at station were deputed to work round the clock.
- Loading and unloading of important commodities is under process as usual. For the convenience of merchants, relaxation in free time, demurrage and wharfage has been implemented.
- During the last 3 days, 74 rakes of coal, 45 rakes of containers, 6 rakes of fertilizers, 15 rakes of petrol, oil and lubricants, one rake of onion have been loaded for various destinations across the country.
- Food grains on Pune Division, Coal for power plants from Nagpur Division, Onion on Bhusaval Division, Iron and steel on Mumbai Division, Cement on Solapur Division are loaded/unloaded for their destinations.
Round the clock track patrolling by essential Keymen and urgent track attention is in progress. Keymen are on section patrolling job, Gatekeepers are manning Level Crossing gates and Trackmen are attending urgent track works. Also, night Trackmen are standby for emergency at various stations.
To run freight trains Controllers, Station Managers, Pointsmen, Trains Clerks are working tirelessly round the clock at various locations over Central Railway.
- OHE staff to ensure freight trains run working, round the clock at CSMT control room are working on 3 Boards. OHE gangs are working round the clock at CSMT, Kurla, Thane, Juinagar, Dombivali, Panvel, Kalyan, Vasind, Badlapur, Kasara, Karjat, Lonavala, Igatpuri for maintaining the assets.
- Locos were being sanitized by Loco Trip Shed Staff.
- Ample sanitizer is made available in Lobbies and Running Rooms.
- Thermal screening of Running Staff is being done.
- Various posters about COVID19 are displayed in Lobbies and Running Room to educate the Staff.
- Running Staff is advised to be available on phone and can be called at a short notice.
- Loco Power Control is working round the clock for monitoring freight movement and staff availability.
- For freight operations Running Staff are booked and are working 24/7 in dire situation, braving all the odds.
- The medical team is working tirelessly 24/7 to implement government guidelines and programmes in Division to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
- The medical team has prepared isolation beds in Divisional Railway Hospitals within stipulated time.
- Health teams have been deployed in field to sensitize passengers about COVID-19 hazard.
- State of the art advanced equipments, PPE, masks, disinfectant, sanitisers are being inducted to fight against corona virus.
- Ventilators, both invasive and non invasive are being procured.
- High end anti-viral medicines are being procured and sufficient stock of same is being maintained.
- Special training has been imparted to paramedical staff, health personnel and Pharmacists in prevention of COVID-19.
- Highest standard of cleanliness and hygiene is being maintained in hospitals, health units and Railway colonies through fumigation, sanitization and anti mosquito treatments in colonies and hospitals.
Challenges and road ahead
All out efforts have been made by Mumbai division to handle the COVID-19 threat meticulously and keep the Railway system afloat. The confidence, morale and mood of staff is high. The Unions and their office bearers have extended all possible assistance in this effort by Railway administration.
Having said that, there are a few challenges which are being encountered besides the fight against corona virus. A few of these challenges are listed below –
- Running of goods trains which are essential to supply important commodities like food grains, vegetables, oil, coal, milk, medicines in different parts of the country.
- Arranging crew for these freight trains and for running back the empty coaching rakes, alongwith stranded staff of other railways.
- Arranging transportation for essential staff and crew.
- Ensuring cleanliness, adequate water supply, electricity at various locations
- Arranging food, wherever required
But with the unrelenting efforts and hardwork of railwaymen, the flag of the railways will be kept high as always.