KAUSHIK DUTTA, Kharagpur: After nine RPF personnel were found COVID-19 positive, all the RPF constables and others in Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway have been advised self-quarantine as a precautionary measure. Those who were found coronavirus positive have returned from Delhi on April 14 with their arms and ammunition.
According to the railway authority, the RPF personnel were part of 28 members RPF consignment, in Kharagpur division, of South Eastern Railway, which returned from Delhi in a special parcel express train, with the consignment of arms and ammunition.
They went to Delhi on March 19 and stayed there as no passenger train was available for return. They have returned in a special parcel express train from Delhi and reached Kharagpur on April 14.
After their return, they were kept in a separate room in the RPF barack. However, one constable, who is from Balasore developed coronavirus-like symptoms and eventually tested positive. And then, necessary tests were done for the others in the consignment. Six from Kharagpur, one each from Panskura and Uluberia were also found positive for COVID-19.
“Those who were found positive had been sent to the COVID-19 hospital, which are run by the state government. The result of the others are negative. But they, too, have been quarantined for safety and security measures,” said Sanjay Ghosh, the spokesperson for South Eastern Railway.
As the report of the test arrived on Thursday, TMC’s senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien raised questions and concern about the matter. “getting disturbing news. 9#RPF person tested positive for #Covid 19 in Bengal. 6 in Kharagpur, 1 each Mecheda/Uluberia . They all came to Kolkata from Delhi on 14 April by train. Why were positive patients traveling during #lockdown? WHO SENT THEM? Screening? How many people did they meet?” Derek tweeted.
But the railway officials claimed that during the journey, the RRF men did not come in contact with any public. They went to carry the arms and ammunition which were needed for security purposes. As the passenger trains have been cancelled due to nationwide coronavirus lockdown, they were stuck in Delhi and returned in the parcel express train.
After the RPF man of Balasore was tested positive, the test of the others were conducted and before that they were all in separate room and in quarantine.
“All necessary measures have been taken by us and RPF authority in the area. As of now, there are no passenger trains and only few parcel trains are running. But as safety measures, all the RPF constables and persons in the Kharagpur division have been requested to remain in quarantine and from Friday onwards, all the RPF men in the area went in quarantine,” said Awadesh Pathak, the Superintendent of Railway Police ( Kharagpur). The officer also said that they are taking necessary measures and steps in connection with COVID-19.