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93,000 railway staff infected with COVID-19

Working on how best to utilise resources: Railway Board Chairman

Amid a record surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, around 93,000 employees of Indian Railways have tested positive for the virus, Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma said on Friday.

“Railways is no different [from what is happening in the country]. Roughly around 93,000 Railways beneficiaries were infected with COVID-19. More than 5,000 beds are earmarked for these people in the 72 hospitals of the Indian Railways,” Mr. Sharma said during a press conference.

He added that all those infected with COVID-19 did not need hospitalisation, some were in quarantine or isolation. “We are in close touch with people who are frontline workers for Railways, the maintainers, the drivers, TTs, the station staff…,” he said.

Asked about the impact on operations, Mr. Sharma said while the situation was a big challenge for the railways, the national transporter was working on how to best utilise the resources it has.

“Our position in COVID-19 has definitely been impacted. We have made some adjustments… For freight trains, we have rationalised our crew thinking that now since the speed of these trains has increased, crew can go on for longer distance… we also need to ensure available employees get proper rest. Impact of operations will not take place. We will continue to perform,” Mr. Sharma noted.

He added that railways was utilising available resources in areas where requirement was more.

“Railways is transporting not only passengers and goods, but also other important items that are today required to be transported quickly. Railways is also facing some challenges, but the needs of the people are paramount. All our 12 lakh employees are working 24 hours to ensure that we are at the forefront of offering our services to the country,” he said.

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