According to the ministry, during the last one week, due to unprecedented intense rainfall and consequent opening of about 36 dams in Kerala, three divisions under Southern Railway zone of Indian Railways were severely affected with heavy flash floods, boulders falling on tracks, landslips etc.
Well done Indian Railways! Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry has taken several measures for the relief operations in flood-hit Kerala. According to the ministry, during the last one week, due to unprecedented intense rainfall and consequent opening of about 36 dams in Kerala, three divisions under Southern Railway zone of Indian Railways were severely affected with heavy flash floods, boulders falling on tracks, landslips etc. However, the ministry recently said that it has undertaken prompt rescue work by restoring all affected railway tracks to help in the movement of people as well as relief teams.
The Ministry claimed that the Indian Railways team worked round the clock in order to clear the hurdles in the flood-hit sections, therefore, several sections on the main route of Kerala were opened on August 20. To repair the tracks, a total number of 9 track machines were deployed. Also, for the restoration of affected tracks and embankment portions, 7 special trains carrying boulders, sand and ballast were sent.
The section between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam was connected by special passenger train services via Alleppey in every 3 hours, which helped in the movement of people, relief and rescue team. Also, between August 17 and August 20, 13 express special trains were run from Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram, via Madurai. Moreover, 3 water rake special trains were dispatched to Kerala. Also, to meet the request of the state government, the Indian Railways is running more water special train services.
The national transporter is also providing three lakh Rail Neer Bottles to flood-affected people across the state. The Indian Railways also deployed 10 employees of Thiruvananthapuram Division of Southern Railway, who are also professional swimmers to help in rescue operations in the flood affected areas in the district of Pattanamthitta. The Chhattisgarh Government sent one rake containing 2500 tons of rice to Kazhakutam, for which the railways did not charge any freight. In a bid to assist the flood victims, the Officers and staff of Trivandrum Division contributed Rs 65 lakh to Chief Minister of Kerala Relief Fund.
Till August 31, Indian Railways is arranging free transport of flood relief materials to many railway stations in Kerala. Also, across the Southern Railway, help desks have been opened in 11 major parcel offices. Many First-aid Booths have also been opened at major railway stations across the state. Many divisions across the state are also providing blankets and bed sheets, flood relief materials such as Dal, Rice, Sooji, Atta, oils, sugar, medicines, bleaching powder, clothes etc. to the relief authorities. Also, items such as water purifiers, food packages, biscuits, medicines, sanitary napkins, soaps, etc. are being dispatched through train services at regular intervals on priority.
Indian Railways has also opened the Paid AC waiting halls, free of cost for all passengers. The pilgrimage centre at the railway premises in Chengannur has been converted into a relief camp, where more than 200 people are taking shelter.
In Aluva–Wadakkanchery section of Trivandrum division and Shoranur in Palakkad division, Indian Railways made arrangements in order to supply food packets through NGO for stranded passengers. In Shoranur – Calicut section, food packets were distributed to staff working in the section. Also, between August 16 and August 18, 12000 food packets were arranged at Chalakkudi and Aluva. Relief materials worth Rs 4 lakh were collected by the staff of divisional office and were handed over to the district administration. Additionally, in coordination with the NDRF authorities, many rescue attempts were undertaken by the railway employees at Chalakkudi railway station and 50 people including railway staff were rescued.