New Delhi, Jun 10 : Freight carried by Indian Railways has shown forward movement again as lockdown lifts, having transported 82.27 million tonnes of essential commodities in May, which is more than 25 per cent higher compared to the month of April.
Between April 1 and June 9, the Railways ferried 175.46 million tonnes of essential items through its uninterrupted 24X7 freight trains operations across the country. More than 31.90 lakh wagons carried supplies to keep the supply chain functional since March 24, when the lockdown was announced. Of these, more than 17.81 lakh wagons carried essentials like food grains, salt, sugar, milk, edible oil, onions, fruits and vegetables, petroleum products, coal, and fertilisers throughout the country.
During the period April 1 to June 9, Railways loaded 12.56 million tonnes of food grains against 6.7 million tonnes in the same period last year. This apart, from March 22 to June 9, a total 3,861 Parcel Trains have also been run by the Railways of which 3,755 were time-tabled trains. Altogether, 1,37,030 tonnes of consignment have been loaded in these Parcel Trains.
Transportation of essential items like medical supplies, medical equipment, and food in small parcel sizes is very important during the lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. In order to fill in this vital need, the Railways has made railway parcel vans available for quick mass transportation by e-commerce entities and other customers including state governments. Railways are running time-tabled Parcel Special trains on select routes, to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential items. Zonal Railways are regularly identifying and notifying routes for these Parcel Special trains.
At present, these trains are being operated on 96 routes. These routes have been identified to include regular connectivity between major cities of the country -- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad; connectivity from state-capitals/important cities to all parts of the state; and ensuring connectivity to the North-eastern part of the country. Supply of milk and dairy products from surplus regions (Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh) is taken to high demand regions and supply of other essential items (agricultural inputs, medicines, medical equipment) from producing regions to other parts of the country.
Indian Railways staff are working at various goods sheds, stations and control offices on 24/7 basis to ensure that the supply of essential items for the nation do not get affected. Locomotive pilots and guards are efficiently running the trains.
Key maintenance staff of track, signaling, overhead equipment, locomotives, coaches and wagons are maintaining the infrastructure in good fettle to ensure smooth running of freight trains. An institutional mechanism has been put in place to escalate issues faced by Zonal Railways in goods train operations to the Control Room set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on real time basis through Railway officers as part of the MHA Control Room. (UNI)