The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has converted 288 of its passenger coaches into Covid care isolation wards and is also equipping the existing six railway hospitals with oxygen plants, NFR General Manager Anshul Gupta said on Thursday.

Gupta said that to meet the Covid needs of different states, after modifying the 288 passenger coaches as Covid care isolation coaches with 4,608 beds, those were handed over to the northeastern state governments.

He said this while addressing the media virtually from NF Railway headquarters in Guwahati.

The NF Railway, one among the 17 railway zones in India, operates fully and partially in six of the eight northeastern states, excluding Meghalaya and Sikkim, and in seven districts of West Bengal and five districts of north Bihar.

Gupta said that the NFR has provided facilities for treatment of Covid positive patients in six of its railway hospitals with a total of 354 beds.

Each of these special wards has all the basic healthcare facilities required for the treatment of Covid positive patients with mild symptoms. According to the official, 477 Covid patients have been treated in railway hospitals since last month.

The NF Railway GM said that six oxygen plants are planned to be installed in railway hospitals at Maligaon, New Bongaigaon, Lumding and Dibrugarh (all in Assam), Katihar (Bihar) and Alipurduar (West Bengal).

Gupta said that so far over 2,500 NFR employees and engineers were infected by the coronavirus and 1,500 of them have recovered from the disease and have joined their duties.

He said that the NF Railway operated 7,339 freight trains in Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh during the pandemic period.

“As a result scarcity of both essential and non-essential commodities could be averted in the northeastern states,” he said.

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