New Delhi, March 20: In the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday amid the novel coronavirus scare, the Indian Railways said on Friday that all passenger trains will remain cancelled during the period.
All long-distance mail or express and intercity trains originating between 4 am and 10 pm on March 22 will also remain cancelled.
A circular addressed to all zonal railways said: “Keeping in view the fact that the demand for rail travel will be vastly reduced during the janata curfew between 7 am and 9 pm on Sunday, zonal railways are hereby advised to regulate services. All passenger trains originating between March 21-22 midnight to 10 pm on March 22 shall not run. However, passenger train already on the go at 7 am on that day will be allowed to reach their destinations.”
The decision was taken by the Railway Board after a meeting with General Managers of zonal railways to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in India.
On Friday, 25 fresh cases were recorded in India, taking the total affected persons to 223. At least four persons have died, with one death each in Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka.
The circular said that railway divisions should keep a watch and empty trains could be terminated short of their final destinations, if required.
The railways said that approximately 1,300 mail or express trains will remain cancelled on March 22.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged people to opt for a ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm.
The railways said that suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Secundrabad shall be reduced to bare minimum only to cater to essential travel requirements.
The zonal railways authorities, as per the assessment of local conditions and requirements, will decide on the number of services.
Passengers alighting en route from trains already on way to their final destinations, and desirous of staying at those stations may be accommodated in waiting halls and rooms and concourse without overcrowding.
“Drinking water and refreshments (on payment) shall be arranged for to cater to the needs of such passengers,” the circular said.
The circular asked zonal authorities to keep a close watch on the situation at major railway stations and press into service special trains wherever needed to clear the rush of passengers.
The railways has till now cancelled over 245 pairs of trains amid the coronavirus crisis across the country.