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    With the 21 days nationwide lockdown declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prevent spread of corona virus in the country, all passenger train services across the country including the suburban local trains have been cancelled upto 14th April, 2020. However, goods trains are running and this requires keeping the tracks in healthy and safe condition to transport essential commodities to different parts of country.

    Engineering department of W.Rly is contributing it’s every bit in doing so with the help of essential category employess such Trackmen, Keymen, Valvemen who are undertaking activities like Keyman Patrolling, minimum inspections of assets, USFD testing, tamping machines working and minimum essential gang activities are being carried out daily along with adequate precautions like social distancing, all employees wearing mask, sanitization of Equipment and self & thermal scanning.

    Alok Kansal – General Manager of Western Railway has appreciated the outstanding and exemplary work done by these crusaders of track maintainers amidst such trying situations and has urged them to ensure all best possible precautions while dispensing their duties. He has also instructed all Divisional Rly Managers to take proper care of all their respective track maintainers and other field staff as they are the real care takers of the life line of the Nation.

    According to a press release issued by WR CPRO Ravinder Bhakar, despite the lifeline coming to a halt, Western Railway has continued to work at large by ensuring that essential commodities may be made available across the nation in this dire situation. This has been made possible due to the untiring call of duty by various ground staff of W. Rly. The transportation of these essential staff has been arranged by plying workmen specials, tower wagon, light engineer. Special health camps are being organized across all the divisions of W. Rly  to cover all the gang men, Group D staff and all the station employees.

    In Vadodara division, 348 employees from Vishwamitri, Chavaj, Ankleshwar, Kashipura Sarar, Miyagam, Varedia, Palej, Varnama stations were screened and necessary advisory was issued accordingly. Employees who had recent history of travel outside states were advised for home quarantine as a precautionary measure in the wake of COVID – 19 outbreak. A group of Trackmen of W. Rly’s Bhavnagar division has gone beyond their call of duty and prepared 141 masks using the clothes available in the stores, which will then be distributed amongst the gang members. Rafiq Jusab, track maintainer of gang number 34, posted at Porbandar station made this commendable contribution.

    Another section of employees who are working day in and day out are the staff from Signalling and Telecom department. Inspite of the lockdown, Signaling & Telecom assets require to be maintained to run the essential goods services safely and timely. Same are being maintained with minimum possible personnel, keeping all the requisite precautions of social distancing, sanitization and personal hygiene.

    Also, all the telecommunication services of Railways, viz. control communication, Railway internet services, HQ and Division telephone exchanges have been working uninterrupted during the lockdown. The Video Conferencing (VC) equipment system has been fitted at GM & DRM camp offices to facilitate VC with various departmental resources including with Railway Board. These daily teleconference services are being facilitated by the Telecom Unit with minimum staff to maintain coordination among the divisional officers.

    Bhakar further informed that Western Railway is fully committed to its customers and ensuring supply of essential commodities like milk and milk products to different parts of the country. Ahmedabad Division of W. Rly has loaded six rakes of loose milk containing 6,90,000 kg milk in each rake since 15 March 2020. This milk is loaded in specially designed RMT (Rail Milk Tank) wagons. In addition four parcel rakes and two conventional jumbo rakes have been loaded containing Milk Powder, fresh milk pouches, Cheese, Butter, Biscuits which has been despatched to various destinations such as for Cuttack, Guwahati, Delhi and Jhansi area during last week.

    Other than these developments, Western Railway has also successfully refunded Rs. 102.72 crores against cancellation of tickets and in Mumbai Division itself refund of Rs. 48.22 crores has been made. Likewise, a total of 14,304 trains have been cancelled including 6,036 Mail/Express trains and 8,268 Passenger trains. Total loss over W. rly upto 26th March, 2020 has been pegged at Rs 135.66 Cr (inclusive of suburban+ non-suburban). It is noteworthy to mention that suitable monitoring of all activities & arrangements are being carried out by the Principal Head of Department along with their teams to cope with the situation and to ensure smooth implementation of all plans, under the aegis of GM Alok Kansal.

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