The first “Oxygen Express” train that left Visakhapatnam on Thursday arrived in Maharashtra’s Nagpur this evening with seven tankers carrying the life-saving medical gas amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three of the seven tankers have been unloaded at Nagpur Junction railway station, news agency ANI reported.
The train carrying the large oxygen tankers pulled out from a facility run by Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) in Visakhapatnam on Thursday evening.
Each tanker is carrying 15 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen. “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,” the railways said in a statement on Thursday.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had tweeted a video of the train preparing to pull out from the RINL facility.
The railways will run the “Oxygen Express” train from steel plants that produce oxygen to different parts of the country.
“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,” the railways said, adding General Manager Vidya Bhusan congratulated the Waltair team led by Divisional Railway Manager Chetan Srivastava for carrying out the task.
Maharashtra reported 773 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours – the highest fatality on a single day. It reported 66,836 new cases during the same 24-hour period.
The surge in Covid cases in recent weeks have led to what is now being called a deadlier second wave of the pandemic. Social media is full of stories of desperate people trying to find oxygen or a hospital bed for their friends and family.
More and more people this time are complaining of breathlessness, which needs oxygen support. However, the supply of oxygen has become severely limited due to the sudden jump in demand across cities and towns.
People have gone to social media to coordinate help, while state governments and the centre are also working to arrange oxygen faster with the help of the private sector.