As a part of the precautionary measures to contain the COVID-19 spread, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced that all passenger trains of Indian Railways will not function until the 31st of March. This is likely to affect 12,000 trains.
India is currently in the third week of the COVID-19 outbreak and possibly on the brink of entering stage-3 of transmission, the Railway Department on Sunday announced that it will be stopping all the passenger trains in function. While 3,000 trains were already out of function with individual states putting a hold on them, the complete shutdown is estimated to affect over 12,500 trains in the country.
The shutdown by the Indian Railways also includes Premium Trains, Express Trains, Suburban Trains, Kolkata Metro Rail, Konkan Rail, etc. The shutdown, as of now, is likely to be applied till 2400 hours on 31st March 2020. The trains that have already commenced the journey prior to 4 am on Sunday will terminate once it reaches the respective destination.
Some Relief for Passengers
However, to ensure the supply of essential products, the goods train will continue its functioning without any hindrance. The suburban rails and the Metro Rail Network can run in bare minimum frequency until the midnight of 22nd March 2020. To make it up for the inconvenience caused to the passengers, a full refund for all the passengers for the canceled trains shall be made soon.
The Indian Railways operate around 9,000 passenger trains, 3,500 mail express, and around 9,000 goods train services each day. As trains help in the mobility of people, the Indian Railways directed the respective zonal railways to adhere to the guidelines.
On Sunday, the number of positive coronavirus cases in India touched 350 with new cases coming in from across the country. India also reported two deaths in the first half of the day which is the highest number of deaths in a single day ever since the outbreak in the country. While Rajasthan has gone into complete shutdown, Mumbai and Delhi are under partial lockdown as the whole country is observing the self-imposed ‘Janata curfew’ after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the entire nation in a televised address.