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Days after stretchers arrive in Mumbai locals, 3 are stolen

As part of a pilot project, Central Railway had kept 14 stretchers in luggage compartments of seven trains on Friday, to help take an injured passenger to hospital; three of them were stolen over the weekend

After several instances of passengers injured in railway accidents not being transported to the hospital on time, owing to the lack of stretchers, railway authorities have finally introduced the facility in local trains.

While the stretcher is latched to a chain, authorities are thinking of how to prevent the equipment from being stolen by miscreants
While the stretcher is latched to a chain, authorities are thinking of how to prevent the equipment from being stolen by miscreants

On Friday, Central Railway placed seven stretchers in 14 local trains. However, three of them were stolen. The theft was discovered on Monday, and a Central Railway spokesperson confirmed the same. Authorities are now mulling over what measures to take to ensure the remaining ones don’t disappear in similar fashion.

Each train had been provided with two stretchers in each luggage compartment one behind the motorman’s cabin and one adjacent to the guard’s cabin. They have been placed inside and are latched with a chain.

“We have not locked the stretcher, so that it can be easily removed whenever there is a need,” said a Central Railway official on condition of anonymity. mid-day, on May 29, had reported that CR officials were considering keeping foldable stretchers in local trains (‘Authorities mulling over keeping foldable stretchers in Mumbai locals’).

A High Court-appointed committee that looked into railway accidents and the measures to reduce them had proposed that stretchers be kept in trains. Many a time, it has been observed that, if a commuter is lying by the tracks after being hit by a train, or falling off one, or due to some other reason, rescue work is hampered by the fact that there is no stretcher to take him to the nearest ambulance.

Most of the times, locals call the stationmaster’s office, from where porters are sent to the accident site. The porters pick up the victims, often by hand. With the stretcher available inside trains, rescue work can be expedited.

The stretcher, which officials began installing from August 22, is washable and can be easily opened. Each piece costs R1,800. “It’s a case of better late than never for the railways. These stretchers were required and we can expect delays in administering treatment to accident victims to come down,” said Subhash Gupta, a member of the Rail Passengers Association.

At present, due to inadequate medical care, ambulances are being pressed into service and, sometimes, kept outside station premises. It takes lot of time for the victim to be carried to the hospital. In some cases, private hospitals have been roped in to accommodate railway accident victims.

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