In a bid to fight against the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic the Pune railway division had converted 60 coaches with a capacity of 1,080 beds into isolation wards earlier in April. However, these coaches are lying unused amid positive cases surge close to 10,000-mark.
These coaches are fully equipped to admit and treat the Covid patients, but are currently not in use. “We have converted 60 coaches into a quarantine facility with 18 beds in each coach. Whenever Pune district administration will need it we will hand it over to them for use,” said Manoj Jhawar, spokesperson, Pune railway.
These coaches are currently kept at the Pune railway division’s Ghorpadi coach repair factory.
Though the district administration has maintained that there is no bed shortage, there have been cases when Covid-19 patients were denied admission by hospitals.
In one of such cases Pune municipal commissioner, Shekhar Gaikwad on June 5 had issued a show-cause notice to Poona Hospital and Research Centre for denying treatment to two patients on June 4.
To address complaints related to overcharging the patients and denial of treatment at hospitals, the administration has constituted a committee under Pune district collector Naval Kishore Ram.
Ram said, “As of now we do not have any shortage of beds in the Pune district and whenever required we will use these isolation railway coaches. There are no plans as such yet to take these coaches, as it will also need a space to park, additional infrastructure and medical staff.”
Recently, Pune divisional commissioner has also launched a new real-time dashboard ‘Covid care Software’ through which real-time data of availability of beds in the district can be viewed.
Facilities in the isolation coaches
-Non-AC sleeper coaches have been used to make these isolation cabins, while one Indian style toilet is converted into a bathing room. It is equipped with bucket, mug and soap dispenser.
-Both middle berths are removed in each cabin. Extra bottle holders are provided in each cabin for holding medical equipment, two for each berth. Extra three peg coat hooks, two per cabin are provided and the windows are covered with mosquito nets among other facilities.
-The first cabin near the bathing room is provided with two hospital or plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire eight berth cabins can be screened off. This cabin will be used as a store and paramedics area.
-Two oxygen cylinders are also provided by the medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth side of this cabin is provided.