The Railway Ministry has set up an emergency control cell in Chennai and a war room at the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi among various other measures to meet the challenges posed by the cyclonic storm ‘Michaung’. “The Indian Railways has geared up its entire machinery in a big way to ensure and manage smooth and safe railway operations in the areas likely to be affected by the cyclonic storm ‘Michaung’,” a statement issued by the Railway Ministry said on Monday.
“The Indian Railways as part of its preparedness for cyclone-related disaster management has set up an emergency control cell at the divisional/HQ level with officers from Operating, Commercial, Engineering, Electrical, Signal/Telecommunications, Security, etc. Branches in each shift to monitor round the clock and take necessary action in connection with train operations,” it added.
The ministry has also activated a war room at board level to monitor all locations round the clock and nominated safety counsellors in each shift to assist with the emergency control.
Besides, it has directed all field officers and supervisors to remain available to assist the officers manning the emergency control for smooth train operations and to keep a close watch on the movement of the cyclone and IMD forecast so that train operations can be worked out accordingly.
“Health unit, Chennai division has also geared up its disaster management action plan and formed two teams. Team A including doctors and other on-duty staff to board the SPART (Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains) at platform no. 11 as soon as the message arrives and will report to the officer in-charge at the disaster/accident spot and start the relief work,” the ministry said.
It added, “Team B will report casualty and a part of Team B will proceed by road. Remaining will stay back to inform all concerned, maintain communication with medical team A, CMS office, to inform local railway hospitals, Railway Hospital, Perambur and local private hospitals for emergency preparedness.” Southern Railways and other concerned zones have also issued a list of general instructions and emergency contact numbers for the masses in case of any exigency, including phone numbers of railway officials, medical teams, emergency vehicles, commercial control for public enquiry, tower wagon drivers along with list of DG sets, pumps, submersible sewage pumps, etc. Available at various stations.
According to the instructions, the Railways’ main focus would be on the prevention of loss of life and on minimising the damage to Railway assets.
“For this, if essential, all train operations, both passenger and freight, on the target section can be suspended in consultation with HQ,” one of the instructions said.
“Cyclone will be preceded/accompanied by incessant rains. Ln sections where trains are to be run in spite of incessant rains, monsoon patrolling should be ensured,” it added.
The Southern Railways has also said that it has kept a closer watch on locations which faced maximum damage during the previous cyclones.
It has issued instructions to keep sufficient numbers of diesel locomotives fully fueled up, ready for facilitating movement of trains to respond to emergencies.