In the wake of the lockdown Western Railway’s staff from various departments displayed grit and commitment through their exemplary services. Not only they continued to work at large by ensuring essential commodities be made available across the nation in this dire situation, but also in coordination with IRCTC taking special care of the needy and poor persons reside near various station premises by providing free food.
Several NGOs and Trusts have extended their generosity to help the needy across the Western Railway jurisdiction. With the Corona virus getting people to stop going to work and people facing shortage of financial and other resources, IRCTC geared up it’s base kitchens in Mumbai Central and Ahmedabad stations for preparing distress meals in huge quantities for the poor and needy people.
According to a press release issued by WR CPRO Ravinder Bhakar, upto 28th May 2020, almost 6 lakh persons were fed by providing free meals and ensuring that they were not left without food in this difficult time. Free meals were being distributed over all the six divisions of WR by commercial department, RPF, IRCTC, Charitable Trusts and NGOs.
IRCTC’s base kitchen in Mumbai Central has prepared approx. 1.55 lakh free meals, whereas its base kitchen in Ahmedabad prepared above 1.05 lakh free meals for distribution. Mumbai Central division provided more than 2.15 lakh meals, whereas Ahmedabad division provided above 2.66 lakh meal packets. Vadodara division provided about 77000 meals and Ratlam, Rajkot and Bhavnagar division provided approx. 12000 free meals each to the needy persons.
This noble cause began from 29th March, 2020 with various NGOs and Charitable Trusts also chipping in. Some of the NGOs who have contributed towards this worthy cause were Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust, Mumbai, Jain Sangh, Vapi, Sahakar Charitable Trust, Valsad, Jay Manav Sewa Pariwar Trust, Nadiad, Ram Roti Society, Dahod, Mahakaal Prabandh Samiti, Ujjain, Chamunda Mata Mandir Samiti, Ujjain,Indian Relief Foundation, Nimach and Kashyap Foundation, Ratlam.
Bhakar states, it is noteworthy that not just the needy were fed, but the passengers who travelled by the Shramik special trains were also taken care of by WR and provided free meals during their travel. 16.87 lakh passengers leaving from various stations under WR’s jurisdiction, have been benefitted by this mission distribution of free meal & packaged drinking water bottles in shramik special trains. Thus in all, almost 23 lakh persons till now have been provided with free meals & water bottles over Western Rly.
SHRAMIK SPECIALS RUN BY WR
Western Rly has operated 1128 SHRAMIK SPL trains from 2.5.2020 to 27.5.2020, which have carried approx. 16.87 lakh passengers to their desired destinations. On 27th May, 2020, WR operated 30 Shramik Specials which were bound for UP (19), Orissa (7), West Bengal (2) and Jharkhand (2). Mumbai Division handled 25 of these Shramik specials. WR despatched these SHRAMIK SPL trains following all norms and social distancing.
ESSENTIALS TRANSPORTED BY WR
Shri Bhakar stated that sine 22nd March to 28th May, 2020, total 4807 rakes of goods trains also have been used to supply essential commodities amounting to 9.79 million tonnes. 9467 freight trains were interchanged with other railways, including 4757 trains handed over and 4710 trains taken over at different interchange points. 283 Millennium Parcel rakes of Parcel Vans / Railway Milk Tankers (RMTs) have been sent to different parts of the country to cope with the demands of essential materials such as milk powder, liquid milk, medical supplies and other general consumer goods. It’s worth mentioning, that since 23rd March to 27th May 2020, commodities weighing more than 43 thousand tonnes have been transported by Western Rly through its 282 parcel special trains, which included agricultural produce, medicines, fish, milk.
The earnings generated through this transportation, has been approx Rs 13.13 crore. Under this transportation, thirty four milk special trains were run by Western Rly, with a load of more than 25 thousand tonnes and 100% utilization of the wagons, generating revenue of approx Rs 4.31 crore. Similarly, 244 Covid-19 parcel special trains were also run to transport essential commodities, for which the revenue earned was more than Rs 8.05 crore. In addition to this, 4 indented rakes were also run with 100% utilization for earnings of approximately Rs. 78 lakh.
Bhakar informed that four parcel special trains left from WR for various parts of the country on 28th May, 2020 viz Porbandar – Shalimar, Bandra Terminus – Ludhiana, Palanpur – Jorhat Town and Dewas – Rajendra Nagar special trains. He stated that the total loss of earnings over Western Railway inclusive of suburban & non – suburban sections, since March, 2020, has been Rs 1061.36 crore on account of lockdown. Inspite of this, resulting to the cancellation of tickets till now, Western Railway has ensured to return refund amount of Rs 286.75 crore. It’s worth mentioning that in this refund amount, Mumbai division alone, has ensured refund of Rs 136.80 crore. Till now, 43.94 lakh passengers have cancelled their tickets over entire Western Railway & have received their refund amount accordingly.
MASKS AND SANITIZERS BEING PREPARED IN-HOUSE BY WR
Shri Bhakar informed that upto 27th May 2020, more than 1.59 lakh masks and more than 21000 liters of sanitizers have been prepared inhouse by WR’s divisions and workshops during the lockdown period. Mumbai Central division of WR made a record 42000 masks, followed by Dahod workshop with 39700 and Ratlam division with 37130 masks. Ratlam division prepared the highest quantity of sanitizer, having made 10500 liters. Other divisions & workshops of Western Rly have also actively contributed in the important activity of in-house preparation of masks & sanitizer.
These masks and sanitizers are being used in the divisions and workshops by all. Staff are encouraged to maintain maximum precautions by use of masks and frequent use of sanitizers to keep them safe. It is worth mentioning that so many families of railway employees too have contributed in making masks for the safety of WR’s fraternity.