The Indian Railways handed over the new five state-of-the-art coach Lifeline Express, the world's first hospital on a train, to Impact India Foundation here today. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for Railways Shri Lalu Prasad said that since 1991, Impact India Foundation with the cooperation of Indian Railways have provided medical services free of cost to nearly 4,50,000 persons in remote and rural interiors of India where medical facilities are almost non-existent.
The Minister said that Lifeline Express, with its successful mission to provide medical facilities to the poor people of far-flung areas, has now been included in the school syllabus of the Central Board of Secondary Education. He said that the new Lifeline Express Train would remain for display for four days at National Rail Museum, Chanakayapuri, New Delhi for public, especially for school children to know more about this train. To launch a countrywide awareness campaign to control the spread of the most deadly disease 'AIDS', Shri Lalu Prasad announced that Indian Railways is planning to introduce another similar train 'Red Ribbon Express' in cooperation with National Aids Control Organisation (NACO).
Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance and Chairperson, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, while inaugurating new state-of-the-art Lifeline Express, commended the noble project by Lifeline Express and expressed her gratitude to the Indian Railways for supporting the venture. The new hospital train consists of main operation theatre with three operating tables for conducting all free of cost surgeries like cataract, squints, micro surgeries of the inner ear, correction of cleft lip and orthopedic surgeries for deformed limbs. It has another self-contained operation theatre with two operating tables and four recovery beds and also an ophthalmic testing room, laboratory, X-Ray etc. The new coaches are designed and manufactured by Integral Coach Factory, Perambur with the cost of Rs. five crore approximately.
In his vote of thanks, Shri J.P.Batra said that it has been the constant endeavour of Indian Railways to help the Impact India Foundation with logistic support to the fullest extent possible. He also appreciated Rajiv Gandhi Foundation for helping this venture and strengthening the resolve of Impact India Foundation and furthering the reach and penetration of the train.
Also present on the occasion were the Minister of State for Railways Shri Naranbhai J. Rathwa, Chairman, Impact India Foundation, Shri A.H.Tobaccowala and the Secretary General of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Shri Manmohan Malhotra among others.