The Integral Coach Factory has begun manufacturing hand sanitisers and face masks that are in acute shortage in hospitals and preventive care centres following the coronavirus outbreak.
The ICF shut operations along with other railway establishments as part of the nationwide lockdown.
However, the Ministry of Railways in a letter to all production units and zonal railways said the epidemic of COVID-19 had gripped the country and in the dire situation the manufacturing capabilities of Indian Railways could be tapped to combat the scourge.
It urged the General Managers to utilise the production units and workshops to manufacture ventilators, personal protection equipment, hand sanitisers, face masks, stretchers, cots and water tanks, in consultation with the Principal Chief Medical Directors. The officials were told to assess the feasibility of manufacturing large quantities at a short notice.
We have started manufacturing hand sanitisers and face masks. A quarantine facility is being established on railway premises. As of now the consumables are being sent for use in railway hospitals and by railway employees on duty. If need be, we have the capability to roll out more stock, a railway official said, adding that metal fabrication, welding and machining works could also be taken up.
The Modern Coach Factor in Raebareli, Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in Chittaranjan and other major factories and workshops had also pooled in their skilled manpower to manufacture medical equipment and consumables in the fight against COVID-19, ICF sources added.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Railways issued orders that the duration of closure of production units and workshops in zonal railways was extended up to March 31, 2020.