New Delhi: The Railways on Friday said it was spending an estimated Rs 2 lakh per isolation coach for its maintenance, food and linen for patients on board and protective gear for the staff.

Railway Board chairman VK Yadav said this was the budgetary estimate of the Railways for the 5,213 coaches which have been modified as isolation coaches and the money for it has already been received from the central COVID care fund.

He also said so far Rs 620 crore has been sanctioned from the fund to the Ministry of Railways.

Yadav also pointed out that it was heartening to see that movement in the reverse direction from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal has begun with migrant workers returning to the states that they had left due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are keeping a watch on occupancy of the special trains. Very soon we will begin more special trains depending on demand from states, occupancy, the COVID situation," the chairperson said.

"It is heartening to see that the occupancy in trains from UP, Bihar, West Bengal to big cities is increasing day by day, indicating an improving economic situation,” he further said.

He also said that while it may not be possible to run all regular trains in the near future given the coronavirus situation, more special trains will be introduced soon.

Yadav said the Railways has identified 160 projects for returnee migrant workers which will generate around nine lakh man-days of work under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan in 6 states.