Kochi-based builders Asset Homes has mooted the idea of creating one crore isolation beds in one week’s time in the country by making use of railway coaches, if the Covid-19 situation goes out of hand.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister and the authorities of the National Disaster Management Authority, Sunil Kumar V, Managing Director, Asset Homes, said that Indian Railways has 12,617 trains with 24-30 coaches on each train. “We can convert a train into a hospital by simple alterations, which can accommodate a consultation room, medical store, a minimum of 1,000 beds per train, one ICU, and a pantry. Toilet facilities are also available. We can create a minimum of one crore beds within no time,” he said.

“We have a total of almost 7,500 large and small stations and the largest network of one crore km. The converted trains can move to affected areas and start services within no time,” he said.

As railway services in India have been suspended till March 31, the trains are readily available. And through the thousands of small and big railway stations, the service can be accessed. The service can also be reached out to the affected areas, if needed. In each railway station, at least two trains can be parked at a time, each with a minimum of 1,000 beds, thus offering services to 2,000 people.

Asset Homes would be happy to associate with this venture without any returns, purely from a service point of view, he said.

Even if 10 per cent of the country’s population of 133 crore is affected by the virus, 10 crore beds would be required. As per 2011 Census, WHO estimated India had only 0.7 beds per 1,000 people. While India has targeted to increase this to two beds, WHO mandates for at least 3 beds per 1000 in the country.