Goyal tells Railways to reach out to poor with food, aid

NEW DELHI: Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday directed Indian Railways officials to reach out to needy people with food and other assistance to the best of their abilities and resources.

Railway organisations like IRCTC and RPF are already engaged in distribution of free meals to the needy. The Minister said Railways should widen outreach of their efforts and go beyond the proximities of railways stations to deeper areas in consultation with district authorities and NGOs.

The Minister said for the first time in history, not a single passenger life was lost in the past twelve months in a rail accident. “Now we are working to ensure that COVID-19 has least impact on India,” he added.

Today’s meeting was attended by Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, members of the Railway Board, GMs and heads of PSUs from across the nation, who linked up through video conferencing.

Underlining that the next few weeks are critical in the fight against Coronavirus and a determined effort by all would ensure that the nation wins the fight, he complimented the Railways for extraordinary work being done so far in the fight against Coronavirus and adopting innovative solutions like conversion of passenger coaches as isolation coaches.

Mr Goyal expressed confidence that all the zones will meet the challenge of making these coaches fully ready and equipped at the earliest.

Work on conversion of first lot of 5,000 coaches has already started in a phased manner.

Railway Board officials informed the Minister that following the Prime Minister’s call to the nation, a contribution of Rs 151 crore was being made to the PM CARE fund. Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav informed that employees of Indian Railways and rail PSUs have decided to forego one day’s salary and contribute to the PM CARE Fund. Many Railway PSUs are also planning to contribute to the fund to bolster the national efforts.

While reviewing the running of special Parcel Trains by Railways to supply important items, Mr Goyal asked the officials to make the service available on more routes so that medicines, essential equipment, edibles could be supplied all over the country quickly.  E-Commerce companies and suppliers of other important goods which are needed in smaller quantities, are going to benefit from the parcel trains.

Parcel special trains are already running on eight routes and 20 more are in the pipeline in different zones. (AGENCIES)