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Echo of second wave wane in Railway data: Dip in oxygen delivery, rise in demand on long routes

Around 32 lakh passengers, mostly migrants and labourers, took long-distance trains out of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal within the last seven days.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi |
Updated: June 20, 2021 7:54:04 am
On Saturday, 264 tonnes of oxygen stocks were on their way: 184 to Tamil Nadu and the rest to Karnataka. (PTI/ Representational)

The oxygen requirement in states seems to be falling even as the Railways is ferrying an increasing number of passengers on long routes, coinciding with the dip in Covid-19 infections during the second wave and gradual opening up of businesses in several parts of the country.

Around 32 lakh passengers, mostly migrants and labourers, took long-distance trains out of states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal within the last seven days.

Over the past 10 days, the daily average of total liquid medical oxygen delivered has come down to just about 400 tonnes a day, down from the previous around 600 tonnes — it hit a low of around 150 tonnes on Friday. The single-day high was recorded on May 26 when the national carrier delivered 1,194 tonnes to various destinations. On Saturday, 264 tonnes of oxygen stocks were on their way: 184 to Tamil Nadu and the rest to Karnataka.

“The graph is going down, so it is a good sign for the nation. Railways has been able to do its bit to equip states with the oxygen they require at the time of need,” said a Railway ministry spokesman.

Starting in the third week of April, the gradual decline in daily delivery of oxygen now coincides with the unlock of various places, including major industrial centres, as officials believe that states are now well-equipped with the oxygen they need for the time being. The gradual unlock is also seen in passenger trains even as Indian Railways gradually restored its services.

During the past one week, the Railways ferried 32.56 lakh passengers from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, the Railway ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

For the next 10 days, from June 19 to 28, approximately 29.15 lakh passengers, including migrant workers, have bookings on long-distance mail express trains from labour source states to cities.

These figures released by Railways were of passengers travelling by long distance trains, with average occupancy being 110.2 per cent, from heavy labour source states to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad and Chennai areas between June 11 and 17.

“The Railways is helping bring back workers as cities gradually unlock. To facilitate the movement of migrant labour from Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha to metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai etc, the Indian Railways is operating mail/express specials, holiday specials and summer special trains,” the spokesman said.

So far, 983 mail/express and holiday specials (56 per cent of the pre-Covid level) have been made operational by the Railways.

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