While Lucknow is facing a severe shortage of medical-grade oxygen amid peak COVID surge, the state has requested the Railways for the services of an 'Oxygen Express' in the city. This is a goods train that is operating all over India as a 'roll-on roll-off service' with road tankers in place of regular wagons.
For the Lucknow run, these tankers will shuttle Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from Bokaro in Jharkhand to Charbagh, Lucknow. Reportedly, the special rail carrying 6-8 empty tankers was flagged off on Wednesday night from Lucknow's railway station and it made its way towards Bokaro, to bring back bulk oxygen to the worst-hit district in Uttar Pradesh.
Oxygen supply to reach Lucknow via rails
The railway authorities have said the Oxygen Express will ply on key routes and will be given priority passage to ensure rapid transport. The government has also directed the states to ensure uninterrupted movement of LMO vehicles across borders and further ordered to not impose any production or supply curbs on oxygen or other essential public health commodities anywhere.
The train from Lucknow was launched under the authority of the Additional Chief Secretary, home, who himself supervised the procedure and arrangements before the journey. As per a senior health official, the train's journey to Bokaro would be complete in 16 to 18 hours, post which a green corridor would be created for its smooth return journey.
Last week, the Uttar Pradesh government had written to the Railways to seek transportation of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from oxygen plants in Jamshedpur and Bokaro in Jharkhand and Rourkela (Odisha) through Oxygen Express. These efforts are expected to soon ease the dire oxygen demand in Lucknow, Kanpur and other key districts in Uttar Pradesh.