Indian Railways Production Units, Workshops and field units have started manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Coveralls for medical and health-care personnel who get directly exposed to the COVID-19 disease when working amongst infected patients.
Indian Railways will produce over 30,000 such coveralls in April 2020 and plan to manufacture 1, 00,000 of the same in May 2020. The prototype coveralls have already cleared the prescribed tests with the highest grades at the authorised DRDO laboratory at Gwalior.
In order to fill the gap in availability and requirements of PPEs, Workshops in NFR has also started making PPEs as per specification provided. Prototypes of PPEs made at the New Bongaigaon and Dibrugarh workshops with the help of presently available infrastructure have been tested by railway medical professionals. Already nearly 150 sets of PPEs have been made in last 2-3 days. NFR plans to make 2000 sets of PPEs out of 30,000 targeted by Indian Railways.
Indian Railways’ Doctors, Medical Professionals, other health workers and care-givers are working tirelessly fighting the COVID-19 disease. All these personnel are directly exposed to the COVID-19 disease when working amongst infected patients. As a first line of defence against contracting the novel Corona virus, they need to be provided with a special kind of impervious coverall that acts as a barrier to the virus as well as other disease carrying fluids. Since each such coverall can only be used once they are required in very large numbers. As the incidence of COVID-19 disease increases, even though in a relatively controlled manner, the requirement of PPE coveralls is also multiplying.
All this has been done despite there being a major global shortage of appropriate raw material as well as machinery for manufacturing PPE coveralls. Behind this endeavour is the time-tested capability of Indian Railway’s workshops and Production Units of manufacturing and maintaining some of the safest railway rolling stock in the world. The same capabilities, expertise, protocols and procedures usually followed for design, manufacturing and use of rolling stock, have been utilised for enabling field units and workshops to start manufacturing high quality PPE coveralls so rapidly.
It is worthwhile to note that the same dedication has already seen Indian Railways converting more than 5000 of its passenger coaches into mobile quarantine/isolation facilities, in a very short period.