Food grains, sugar, milk, salt, edible oil, fruits and vegetables, coal, petroleum products and other such items are being loaded at the existing Indian Railways terminals, for being transported to various parts of the country.
Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways fights COVID-19! Are you worried about buying essential supplies such as food grains, pulses, oil, milk during lockdown, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic? Indian Railways is aiming to ensure the continuous supply of commodities through its network. In this regard, Indian Railways is operating only the freight trains across the country, through which the 24/7 supply of these items are likely to be maintained. According to the Railway Board, commodities such as food grains, sugar, milk, salt, edible oil, fruits and vegetables, onion, petroleum products, coal and other such items are being loaded at the existing railway terminals on the network, for being transported to various parts of the country.
In order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus infection, Indian Railways had suspended the operations of all passenger train services including Mail/Express trains, suburban trains, intercity trains from the network till March 31, 2020. However, only the freight operations have been allowed till March 31. In the situation of a lockdown in various states, the Indian Railways staff which have been deployed at the various goods sheds, railway stations as well as control offices are working on a 24/7 basis in order to ensure that the constant supply of the essential items on the network, is not getting affected.
Here are some of the steps which have been undertaken by Indian Railways, in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, to ensure a constant supply of commodities and smooth operations of freight network:
- On March 23, 2020, a total of 474 rakes of Indian Railways were loaded for the transportation of essential commodities such as food grains, sugar, milk, salt, edible oil, fruits and vegetables, onion, coal, petroleum products.
- During the day, a total of 891 rakes were being loaded by Indian Railways, which also included other important commodities such as 121 rakes of iron ore, 25 of cement, 48 rakes of steel, 106 rakes of container, 28 rakes of fertilizer etc.
- The national transporter is also maintaining a constant coordination with the state governments so that the rakes of the essential commodities are being handled smoothly without any delay, even in the scenario of various restrictions which have been imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Railway Board has also slashed the wharfage rates and demurrage for goods and parcels at almost half of the prescribed rates till March 31, 2020.
- Additionally, the free time for the loading and unloading of wagons as well as the free time for the removal of the consignments from the railway premises, has been increased to almost double of the allotted time till March 31, 2020
- The Indian Railways staff who have been delegated at the control rooms for the operation of freight trains, maintenance staff, line staff, medical staff in railway hospitals, security personnel are working continuously to ensure the smooth operations of freight trains