Lucknow, Apr 24 (PTI) An Oxygen Express train carrying three tankers of liquid medical oxygen arrived in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday morning via a green corridor as the state battled a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In view of the high demand for oxygen in the country following a record spike in coronavirus cases, the railways has decided to run Oxygen Express trains to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country.
Roll-on-roll-off trucks are being transported on flat wagons by the trains for quick supply of medical oxygen.
'Two trucks of medical oxygen arrived in Lucknow around 6.30 am while one truck was offloaded in Varanasi. Each truck has a capacity of 15,000 litres of medical oxygen,' Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi told PTI.
He said both the trucks may be used for Lucknow.
The train arrived from Bokaro in Jharkhand.
'The arrival of two trucks of medical oxygen will meet around half the demand of Lucknow for Saturday. The state capital will now be in a better position. The second Oxygen Express departed at around 5.30 am from Lucknow for Bokaro with four tankers,' Awasthi said.
District Magistrate of Varanasi Kaushal Raj Sharma said a tanker carrying 14,000 litres of liquid medical oxygen has reached there.
The railways on Wednesday had said it will run a second Oxygen Express train to Uttar Pradesh after a request was received from the state government.
Upon the arrival of the train, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a tweet said, 'Indian Railways is called the lifeline of the country. The Oxygen Express, which arrived in Lucknow and Varanasi, thanks to the inspiration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a glaring example of this.' Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh told PTI, 'The arrival of Oxygen Express will significantly ease the current situation in the state.' In view of the rising demand for oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients, the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday appointed three senior officers at the COVID Command Centre to deal with the demand and supply of oxygen to the hospitals in the state.
CM Adityanath also launched a dedicated website, 'Oxytracker', for transparent availability of oxygen to hospitals, the state government said.
Elaborating on the operational aspect of the Oxygen Express, Sanjay Tripathi, Divisional Railway Manager (Northern Railway) told PTI, 'The Oxygen Express took 46 hours to reach Lucknow. This is almost half the time it takes to travel by road.
'The train operated non-stop and a green corridor was created for it. A GRP team escorted the train.' Such a type of train movement occurred for the first time in the history of Indian Railways, he said. PTI NAV NSD