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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Salute the Oxygen Express initiative !

The nos. are increasing disproportionately – newer heights are being reached. India now has 1,53,20,972 – of which 38,98,262 is from Maharashtra and third from a very small state Delhi 8,77,146 with 23686 in last 24 hours. While  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji  held a meeting with leading doctors and top pharma companies, the Delhi Govt which is battling to cater to the need of oxygen for COVID-19 patients, claimed in the Delhi High Court that one of the reasons for the shortage of oxygen was diversion to one of the largest states of the country. Politics is a different ball game – one of blame game for most !!!

From the eastern tip Visakhapatnam to West – Mumbai – there are different train routes.  Konarak Express emanating from Bhubaneswar runs via Khurda road, Brahmapur, Ichchapuram, Palasa, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vizag, Tuni, Samlalkot, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Vijayawada, Khammam, Warangal, Kazipet, Secundearabad, Wadi, Solapur, Daund, Pune, Lonavala, Kalyan, Thane, Dadar to Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus while Visakhapatnam Lokmanya Tilak Express runs the other route from Vizag – Vizianagaram, Bobbili, Parvatipuram, Rayagada,  Khariar road, Raipur, Durg, Gondia, Nagpur, Wardha, Akola, Bhusaval, Manmad, Nasik road, Kalyan Jn to Lokmanya Tilak junction.  

Routes are not relevant – the consignment and the efforts behind are the most important ones !

Kalamboli is one of the nodes of Navi Mumbai. It is a transportation hub, being situated at the junction of the Sion-Panvel Highway, NH 48, Panvel By-Pass, NH 66 and Mumbai-Pune Expressway and is among the biggest iron and steel delivery centers in India.   The terminal of Mumbai-Pune Expressway is at Kalamboli. It also has Navi Mumbai's largest marble market alongside the Sion Panvel Highway.

Given the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, Oxygen is critical in the treatment of certain medical conditions in Covid infection – and logistics of moving  liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and oxygen cylinders for patients across India, is of utmost importance.  Due to restrictions of height of Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Over Head Equipment (OHE) at certain locations, out of the various specifications of road tankers, the model of road tanker T 1618 with height of 3320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons (DBKM) with height of 1290 mm. Railways immediately explored the technical feasibility of transportation of LMO.  LMO has to be transported through Roll On Roll Off (RO RO) service with road tankers placed on flat wagons.

Must appreciate the urgency and efficiency with which the Central Railway's Mumbai Division  has built a ramp within 24 hours at the Kalamboli Goods Yard for the loading and unloading of oxygen tankers on and from the train. This facilitates movement of ‘Oxygen Express’ loaded with empty tanker trucks and the train will move via Vasai Road, Jalgaon, Nagpur, Raipur Jn to Vizag Steel plant.  

          The first-ever "Oxygen Express" carrying seven empty tankers on Monday left Mumbai for Visakhapatnam, where they will be loaded with liquid medical oxygen for transportation to Maharashtra, reports said. The move has come as several states face an acute shortage of medical oxygen amid rising COVID-19. According to a release by the Central Railway, the Ro-Ro (Roll-On-Roll-Off) train left from the Kalamboli Goods Yard in Navi Mumbai for the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant at 8:05 pm. At the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, the empty tankers will be loaded with liquid medical oxygen and then brought back to Maharashtra, which is running short of oxygen required to treat COVID-19 patients.

Great effort and we must appreciate the Railways and the Govt for this novel initiative.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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