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Coronavirus: DRDO nod to coverall suits made by Railway workshop

Northern Railway, which made the breakthrough after another railway unit failed to get its samples passed, has raw material to make 3,000 coverall suits.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Published: April 6, 2020 1:49:02 am
coronavirus india lockdown, coronavirus update, corona suits, india coronavirus lockdown, covid-19, ppe, personal protection equipments, The coverall suit made by the Jagadhari coaching workshop. (Express Photo)

The Defence Research and Development Organisation Sunday cleared coverall suit samples made by a railway workshop, paving the way for mass production of this protective gear, critical in India’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

Northern Railway, which made the breakthrough after another railway unit failed to get its samples passed, has raw material to make 3,000 coverall suits. It has decided to source raw material from a Yamunanagar-based vendor approved by the Textiles ministry to manufacture an additional 3,000 units.

It is the Jagadhari coaching workshop of Northern Railway which made the suits using “reverse engineering”.

The government estimates the country’s medical fraternity and other workers will require some 1.5 crore coveralls by June. These suits are incinerated after each use and are the most critical component in the Personal Protective Equipment kit with significant shortage in India.

“Now we can contribute in mitigating the shortfall of coveralls in the country to the extent possible. We have already placed orders for raw materials for more,” said Arun Arora, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer of Northern Railway, which will share the design specifications with other zones so that production can happen on a larger scale if needed.

A Railway statement said that the national transporter will now aim to produce three sets of coverall suits per sewing machine per hour for 15 days.

Eighty-one coaches were earlier converted into isolation wards by this zonal unit, which has by now converted 340 coaches, readying 10 isolation trains and continuing to convert more.

Northern Railway is contemplating applying for a patent for the design of the isolation coach. “We will file for a patent… It is a unique Indian idea to show the world how in-use railway coaches can be turned into viable healthcare infrastructure in a time of crisis,” Arora said.

The Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, has already made a prototype of a ventilator with its own design and in-house talent. The prototype will be sent to the ICMR for testing next week even as other two factories—the ICF, Chennai and Rail Wheel Plant, Bengaluru—also look to make ventilators with reverse engineering and outside collaboration.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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