The first Oxygen Express train to Karnataka, which originated from Tatanagar station in Jharkhand, reached Bengaluru on Tuesday morning. The train carrying 120 tonnes of liquid oxygen arrived in Whitefield on the outskirts of the city.
The train was provided a green corridor to ensure that it reaches Karnataka, which is facing a huge demand for oxygen for Covid patients, at the earliest.
The train left Tatanagar station, about 1850 km away, around 3.30 am on Monday.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa told the media, "As you know, a 120- tonne oxygen container has reached Bengaluru from Jamshedpur. They are getting us whatever we require. I am confident that the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give special attention to Karnataka and provide what we need."
Ashok Kumar Verma, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru, told NDTV, "The systems are in place, it depends on the priority we give. Because this was a special importance train, our people were monitoring it minute by minute. That is something we cannot do for every train."
"Normally when you run a goods train, you stop them at many places to allow mail express trains or high speed trains to pass. In this case, the highest priority was given to this train. And it was not supposed to stop anywhere because of any operational reason," he said.
The second Covid wave has led to a surge in cases in Karnataka, putting the state's medical infrastructure under severe stress. Many hospitals in the state are struggling with the shortage of oxygen.
Several Covid patients died in Chamarajanagar district in southern Karnataka last week and some of those deaths have been attributed to a shortage of oxygen. Many Bengaluru hospitals have also sent out SOS calls for oxygen.
In the 24-hour data released on Monday, Karnataka recorded 39,305 new Covid cases and 596 deaths, with Bengaluru accounting for 16,747 cases.