The Indian Railways has, on Thursday, announced that all regular mail, express, and passenger services would remain suspended from July 1st to August 12 in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, in what it can be learned that the tracks would be deserted across the nation for more than a month as the sequel of the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases.
The announcement of not resuming the regular trains services had signaled the possibilities that the nation may be put through the sixth phase of the lockdown after June 30, which is the deadline of the fifth phase of the unprecedented experiment to curb the spread of the pandemic. According to the Indian Railways Board, these train services were remained canceled since the implementation of the lockdown and the tenure has been extended till August 12.
The Railways stated that the cancellation would also apply for suburban trains and it highlighted that the decision of extending the suspension has taken owing to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. The board clarified that all the tickets booked for the regular timetabled trains for the journey from July 1st to August 12th would stand canceled and a full refund will be given to the passengers who booked tickets in this duration.
According to the reports, the railways had allowed booking of tickets till April 14, 2020, with an advance reservation period of 120 days and passengers had booked the ticket for regular trains for the journey up to August 12 -which is 120 days away from April 14 and all the regular trains would stay out of the tracks till August 12 and they would be given a full refund.
However, the Indian Railways asserted that trains that are running currently would continue its services. These trains are labeled as special trains connecting some of the major Indian cities. On May 12, the railways resumed the operations of 15 pairs - thirty trains that have been connecting 15 major cities to Delhi. Following the resumption, the Railways had, on June 1st, resumed 100 pairs of mail and express trains across the nation, as part of having gradual exit from the lockdown.
The Railways clarified that these special trains would remain functional and along with more than 4,000 Shramik Special trains, that have been running since May 1st, exclusively for ferrying the stranded migrant workers to their home states amid the lockdown. Other than these services, all other passenger services would remain suspended and railways will continue operating the freight trains to transport the essential commodities across the country.
The Railways had also clarified that the limited suburban services which started recently in Mumbai to transport people who are attached to the essential and emergency services would also remain operative. These announcements have come when the country had seen yet another spike in COVID-19 cases. In the last 24 hours till Friday morning at 8 am, India has reported 17,296 cases, 13,940 discharges, and 407 deaths.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the country has reported 4,90,401 cases so far of which 1,89,463 cases are active, 2,85,637 have been discharged, and 15,301 had succumbed to the virus. India is currently the fourth worst-affected nation in the world and the country had added 2.82 lakh cases to its tally since June 1st. The Railway services have been remaining under suspension since March 25, when the nation was imposed with the complete lockdown to contain the virus spread.