Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said history will remember the national transporter for its contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a review meeting held with senior officials of zonal railways, Mr Goyal lauded the staff for not only maintaining the supply chains but also ensuring that the national transporter surpassed achievements of the past.
"History will remember Indian Railways for its immense contribution to the fight against Covid. While maintaining national supply chains, it has ensured that wheels of progress keep moving at fast pace," a statement from the ministry quoted him as saying.
Mr Goyal, who was reviewing the operational performance of zones and divisions with top railway officials said during the last 14 months, Railways has demonstrated a high moral strength and ability to rise to the occasion.
He directed the officials to ensure full utilisation of record Capex allocation made to the ministry during the Budget and to complete infrastructure works that would generate employment as well especially in challenging Covid times.
Mr Goyal also said "Oxygen Express" trains have served the nation in an "extraordinary manner" and were a "game changer" in the fight against Covid while underlining that the national transporter's speed of response and quality of service has been appreciated by all.
So far, Oxygen Expresses have delivered more than 17,945 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen to 15 states since it started operations a month back while 272 Oxygen Express trains with 1,080 tankers have completed their journey till now.
The minister complimented railway officials for showing extraordinary resilience and ensuring that Indian Railways achieved a double digit growth in freight traffic.
"Railways has recorded more than 10 per cent increase in freight loading (between April 1 and May 25, FY 2021-22) as compared to normal year of 2019-20. In FY 2021-22, Indian Railways total loading is 203.88 Million Tonnes (MT) which is 10 per cent more than FY 2019-20 loading figures (184.88 MT) for the same period," the statement said.
It also said that in the month of May 2021, Indian Railways' loading is 92.29 MT, which is 10 per cent more than May 2019 (83.84 MT) and 43 per cent more than May 2020 (64.61 MT) for the same period.
In May 2021, the Indian Railways earned Rs 9,278.95 crores from freight loading.
The Railways is not operating regular train services and leaving the tracks open for more freight movement as compared to pre-Covid times.
The minister complimented the officials of the business development units for working on mission mode to boost the freight traffic.
He further directed that more efforts be made for developing infrastructure like good sheds, terminals, last mile electrification towards sheds, mechanisation of loading unloading, etc to make things more efficient and easy for all operators.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)