With less than half of its working hands, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala – one of the biggest rail coach manufacturing unit in the country — is up and running amid the coronavirus lockdown. But less staff is not the only challenge the RCF faces. There is shortage of raw material, and the strict lockdown conditions it must comply with to keep the unit running. But RCF is doing it in a way that it sets an example for other industrial units in the country.
The factory has made its own hand sanitisers, 8,000 special fabric reusable masks, 350 PPE kits. It has already equipped its hospital situated inside RCF township with COVID-19 facilities by creating 20-bedded quarantine facility, 12-bedded isolation facility.
Only employees and workers living inside the walled township have been allowed to join the work, and work has been divided into three shifts. Out of RCF’s 7200 employees, currently only 3400 are working. Under these condition, the factory is coming up with one coach daily ever since it has resumed work on April 23.
“We have already made one LHB Parcel van, one luggage-cum-generator car while coming up one coach daily. But some tools, which are required to be fitted in these coaches, are not available and these will be completed only when the supply chain is restored. Also, around 25 more parcel vans are in advance stage and will be completed within no time when the supply of some required articles will be received by the RCF,” said General Manager RCF, Ravinder Gupta.
He added: “Barring few items, we have material of 40-45 coaches available with us which we are using. We will make up the losses of 60 to 63 coaches which occurred due to lockdown after situation normalises.”
He said that workers were being regularly counselled about how to stay safe during the outbreak while working in the factory.
“To avoid the rush at the entry/ exit points the work has been divided into three shifts,” he said.
The safety measures at the factory include individual soaps, water bottles for every worker. There are several boards that have been put up at different locations carrying the information about the ‘to-do list’ in different circumstances related to COVID-19. Peddled water and soap dispensers have been placed all around. The workers are screened with thermal scanners daily at the entry point. A worker said that they have told to check their temperature daily at home. “At the workplace also we are keeping an eye on each other so that in case of any symptoms, we can inform the authorities,” said another worker in the workshop. “We have been using sanitiser every time while handing over the tools to each other at the time of fixing such tools in the coaches,” another worker said, adding that distancing markers were there for all staffers on the factory floor.
There are around 3,500 workers living outside the walled township who are not allowed entry. Inside the RCF, door-to-door supply of essential goods is provided by the RCF volunteers. Around 17-18 families and their children, who had come from various countries, were quarantined here.
Recently, the RCF had also come up with the cheapest prototype of the ventilator after the outbreak of coronavirus at a cost of Rs 10,000 only.