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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Railways are the lifeline and come under essential services that keep the entire nation going. Despite suspension of passenger train services as part of nation-wide strategy to contain the spread of coronavirus, Indian Railways is operating round-the-clock to ensure that supply of essential commodities doesn't come to a halt.

However, several railway vehicles on road and staff are facing problems in travelling to their offices and homes and work due to the restrictions clamped under the lockdown in Odisha.

Also Read: Odisha Covid-19 Lockdown: Passes Must For Office-Goers In Bhubaneswar-Cuttack

In a letter to district Collectors and district magistrates, the Khurda divisional railway manager, Sashi Kant Singh urged the senior officials to provide necessary permission to concerned staff so as to ensure that the movement of essential goods and commodities like foodgrains and coal remain uninterrupted.

In his letter to Collectors of Angul, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Nayagarh and Puri, Singh stated that “There are incidents of detention and obstruction of railway staff coming to railway station and going back after their duty during the lockdown period in view of the COVID19 regulations by the State authorities.”

Singh further requested the concerned district administration officials to ensure that no railway staff including those engaged in sanitation duty is detained. They should be allowed to move to their destinations on production of valid ID cards.

Despite the lockdown in several States in the country, Indian Railways now face the challenging task of ensuring supply of essential commodities remain uninterrupted. From food grains to petroleum and coal, its employees are working tirelessly across the country.

The East Coast Railway (ECoR) is playing a crucial role in transportation of several commodities including coal which is the prime raw material for powerhouses. According to experts, there would be an electricity shortage in April if coal does not reach powerhouses. Besides coal, ECoR is also engaged in transportation of foodgrains including rice and wheat for the Food Corporation of India (FCI), iron ore and finished steel for various steel plants in the country and Odisha.

Also Read: Odisha Lockdown Complete, Curfew, Sec 144 In High-Risk Cities Next?

The East Coast Railway is also running special wagons for the transportation of alumina powder and aluminium ingots for NALCO. As per official sources, ECoR operated nearly 500 trains to ensure all the essential commodities from foodgrains to fertilizers, petroleum products and coal reaches its destination on time.

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