Railways ferried 60L people, recovered 15% operational costs

New Delhi, (Asian independent) Indian Railways has ferried over 60 lakh people in 4,450 Shramik Special trains since May 1, but managed to recover only 15 per cent of operational costs, said Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav, here on Monday.

Speaking to reporters through a video link, Yadav said, “The average fare per person on Shramik Special trains was Rs 600 and we have operated 4,450 Shramik trains so far. The Railways generated a revenue of around Rs 360 crore.”

The average fare for Shramik Special trains is Rs 600 per passenger.

“One has to keep in mind that these are normal fares and not fares for special trains which are higher. We carried 60 lakh passengers, so the revenue can be calculated. We, however, managed to recover only 15 per cent of cost of operations,” the Chairman said.

Yadav reiterated that the cost of operating these trains was being shared by the Centre and the states in a 85-15 per cent ratio.

He also said that now very less people are stranded and the Railways along with the state governments will arrange for their return.

He further said that the demand for Shramik Special trains had fallen in the last couple of days.

Yadav said that he had written to the state governments on June 3 and received requests for 171 Shramik Special trains. “Between June 4 and June 14, we operated 222 Shramik special trains,” he said, and assured the states of providing trains within 24 hours of the request.

Before May 25, the Railways was operating over 250 trains to ferry the stranded workers.

On Covid-19 isolation coaches, Yadav said, “The initiative was taken to supplement the state governments’ requirement for Covid-19 beds. The Railways has converted 5,231 coaches into isolation ward coaches.

The Railways would provide separate coaches for suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients, all of which would be under the care of the chief medical officer of the state.”

Requests from Telangana, Delhi and UP for Covid-19 isolation coaches have been received, he added.

On high summer temperature in the national capital, he said, “The railways will arrange for roof-top insulation. Windows have been covered with mosquito nets. We have taken steps for proper ventilation.”

Since non-AC coaches are more suitable for isolation purposes, the Railways will provide roof insulation in areas where temperatures are too high.

On the IANS query about the amount spent on conversion of coaches, the Chairman said, “Very minimal amount has been spent for converting the sleeper coaches into isolation wards.”

Slight alterations have been made in the toilets to meet bathing needs. Curtains have been provided like hospital beds, additional electricity points been made available to support medical equipment and to hold oxygen cylinders.

“All these items are reusable. We have provided all facilities for Covid-19 patients in these coaches if all other options have been exhausted,” he said.

On plans of starting new trains besides the 230 trains running now, Yadav said the Railways is monitoring the Covid-19 situation across the country. Any decision on new trains would be taken in consultation with the state governments, he added.