New Delhi: Amid rising Coronavirus cases in India, Indian Railways has cancelled all passenger trains till March 31, 2020. It is worth mentioning that there are 341 active coronavirus cases, the country’s nodal testing body Indian Council of Medical Research said on Sunday
Millions across India today are observing a 14-hour self-quarantine or “Janata Curfew” recommended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a meeting this morning, the railway board decided to stop the passenger train services. Only goods trains will keep running. The suburban trains and the Kolkata Metro services will run till tonight.
The Railway Ministry press release stated, “In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, it has been decided that all passenger train services on Indian Railways including premium trains, Mail/Express trains, passengers trains, Suburban trains, Kolkata metro rail, Konkan railway etc. shall be cancelled till 12:00 am on March 31, 2020.”
“However, bare minimum level of services of suburban trains and Kolkata metro rail shall continue up to 12:00 am of March 31, 2020,” it added. The ministry informed that trains which have already commenced during journey prior to 04:00 am of March 22, will run-up to their destinations.
Refund made convenient for passengers:
In order to make it more convenient for passengers, full refund for all cancelled trains may be taken till June 21, 2020. The circular said, “Adequate arrangement shall be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations.”
Over 12,000 trains cancelled:
According to railway officials, this directive will stop the movement of around 12,500 trains. On the other hand, around 500 suburban trains will continue to operate. Note that around 9,000 goods trains are run by the national transporter every day. The directive comes at a time when already 3,500 to 4,000 train services were affected amid the Janta Curfew imposed nationwide today.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted informing that, “About 16,000 litres of cleaning agents and a trainful of resolve is what it takes to corona-proof the Indian Railways and its 54,000 coaches.”
Passenger trains cancelled for Janta Curfew:
The Indian Railways has cancelled all passenger trains originating between Saturday midnight to 10 p.m. on Sunday and all long-distance mail/express and Intercity trains (including premium trains) originating between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m on that day. The changes have been made as part of the regulation of train service during Janata Curfew in the wake of COVID-19.
An order issued by Indian Railways said, “No passenger or express train will originate from any railway station on the country between Saturday/Sunday midnight to 10:00 pm on Sunday.” The demand for rail travel is also vastly reduced during the Janata Curfew hours from 7 a.m to 9 p.m on Sunday.
Suburban rail services curtailed:
The Railways Ministry has also advised zonal railways to reduce suburban services, and the same in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Secunderabad will be reduced to bare minimum level on Sunday. Zonal railways have been advised to cancel all passenger trains originating between Saturday midnight to 10 pm on Sunday.