The first "Oxygen Express" train with seven tankers of medical oxygen reached Maharashtra’s Nagpur on the evening of Friday, 23 April. The train carrying the essential gas had pulled out from a facility run by Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted a video of the train reaching Maharashtra on Friday evening.
Three of the seven tankers were unloaded at Nagpur Junction railway station, ANI reported. Each tanker is carrying 15 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen.
The railways had said in a statement on Thursday, “A joint effort by Waltair Division of East Coast Railways, and officials of RINL made the project a success. This will prove to be highly beneficial during the recent upsurge in COVID-19.”
Indian railways will run the life-saving "Oxygen Express" trains from steel plants that produce oxygen to different parts of the country.
General Manager Vidya Bhushan congratulated the Waltair team led by Divisional Railway Manager Chetan Srivastava for carrying out the task.
The Railways added, “Railways transported essential commodities and kept the supply chain intact even during the lockdown last year and continue to serve the nation in times of emergencies. This time movement of ‘Oxygen Express’ towards different parts of the country will help patients and different hospitals.”
Maharashtra, on Friday, reported 773 COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, registering its biggest-ever single-day spike in the death count.
The state also reported 66,836 new cases. However, after weeks, the state has recorded more recoveries (74,045) than fresh cases.
While India endures the much harsher, second wave of COVID infections, oxygen shortage has led several patients and their relatives to look for oxygen beds, stand in long queues at refilling centres and added an overall burden to the collapsing health infrastructure.
Amid reports of oxygen shortage, the Defence Ministry also announced on Friday, that 23 mobile oxygen generation plants are being airlifted from Germany and will be deployed in AFMS hospitals catering to COVID patients. The plants are expected within a week, the Defence Ministry added.
(With inputs from ANI)
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