The Indian Railways converted 5,601 coaches into Covid care centres at a cost of Rs 47.38 crore during 2020-21. With about 16 beds being made available in each coach, that amounted to over 89,600 isolation beds. However, data from different sources seems to indicate that barely 4% of these beds were utilised for isolating Covid patients. Despite this experience from the first wave, conversion of coaches was happening even in April 2021.
In September last year, railways minister Piyush Goyal told the Rajya Sabha that 5,601 coaches had been converted into Covid care centres from March to June 2020. He said that the railways had spent approximately Rs 60,000 per coach on minor modifications such as removal of middle berth, conversion of one bathroom into a shower room and provision of medical facilities including oxygen cylinders and other items. He added that on average the railways spent Rs 7,000 per patient in the Covid care coaches.
In response to an RTI application submitted in April this year, the railways ministry responded on June 10 that Rs 47 crore was spent cumulatively on coach conversion. It added that other information like the state-wise distribution of these coaches