872 rail employees, kin, ex-staffers test coronavirus positive
As many as 872 employees of the Central Railway and Western Railway, their family members and retired personnel have so far tested positive for coronavirus and 86 of them have died, officials said.
All of them were admitted to the Western Railways Jagjivan Ram Hospital here which was in April declared as a facility to treat COVID-19 patients, they said.
Of the total cases, 559 were reported from the Central Railway and 313 from the Western Railway, officials said.
Out of the 86 patients who died of COVID-19, 22 were existing railway employees (14 of the Central Railway and eight of the Western Railway) and the others included their family members and retired personnel.
As of now, 132 railway employees, besides their family members and retired personnel, are undergoing treatment at the hospital, officials said.
Currently, some special trains, goods trains and 700 local train services with limited number of passengers are being operated here by both the Central Railway and Western Railway.
Some railway unions claimed that since the resumption of local train services from June 15, there has been a rise in COVID-19 cases among railway employees.
"The state government allowed only 15 to 30 per cent attendance in offices, but in the railways nearly 100 per cent field staff personnel are working since the resumption of suburban train services, National Railway Mazdoor Union president Venu Nair said.
The zonal railways, however, said there is no connection between the rise in COVID-19 cases and resumption of services.
Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Shivaji Sutar said they are taking utmost care to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among railway personnel and passengers.
"We are taking every possible step for the safety of railway employees and passengers and ensuring social distancing. We are providing masks, sanitisers and all other safety equipment to our employees, he said.
After the outbreak of COVID-19, the Central Railway launched a 'Rail Parivar Dekhrekh' drive to ensure safety of the railway employees, he added.
The Western Railway's Mumbai division DRM did not respond to queries on this.