At least 1,952 employees of the Indian Railways succumbed to COVID-19 and around 1,000 are affected on a daily basis, according to a senior official from the ministry.
Being in the business of transport and having to move freight and people are the causes for the COVID-19 cases, said the official. Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma claimed that the employees, however, have been getting access to timely treatment including hospital beds and oxygen supply.
"As of now, we have 4,000 beds occupied by staff and their families. Our effort is to see that they recover quickly. As of yesterday, 1,952 rail employees have died due to COVID-19 since March last year," Sharma said, reported The Indian Express.
According to the All Indian Station Masters' Association (AISMA), 113 station masters have succumbed to the virus, most of them, reportedly in the second wave. As many as 50 members of the Railway Protection Force have lost their lives till now.
The association, expressing disappointment over the lack of recognition and remedial measures in the wake of such incidents, said that the station masters and other frontline staff have been risking their lives to ensure continued services.
Reports suggest that the association has written to the Railway Board and several rail divisions asking for a special insurance cover of ₹50 lakh for each of them and arrangement of vaccination for the group.
Indian Railways has been playing a crucial role in the country's relentless fight against the second wave of COVID-19.
It has been assisting states with providing COVID-19 care isolation coaches. A total of 298 coaches have been handed over to various states with a bed capacity of more than 4,700 beds, reported Financial Express.
On the other hand, amid multiple reports of oxygen scarcity in a number of states, the department is running 'Oxygen Express' to ferry tankers carrying medical oxygen.