New Delhi, March 20: Indian Railways on Friday (March 20) decided to cancel all passenger trains on Sunday (March 22) in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a ‘janata curfew’ amid coronavirus scare.
Notably, all long-distance mail or express and intercity trains originating between 4 am and 10 pm on March 22 will also remain cancelled, according to an Indian Railway circular.
“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,” said the circular addressed to all zonal railways.
It further said, “However, passenger train already on the go at 7 am on that day will be allowed to reach their destinations.”
The circular said that railway divisions should keep a watch and empty trains could be terminated short of their final destinations if required. Approximately 1,300 mail or express trains will remain cancelled on March 22.
Railway Board took this decision after holding a meeting with General Managers of zonal railways to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.
Suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Secundrabad will also be reduced to a bare minimum only to cater to essential travel requirements. The zonal railways’ authorities will reportedly decide on the number of services after assessing local conditions and requirements.
“Drinking water and refreshments (on payment) shall be arranged for to cater to the needs of such passengers,” said the circular, which also 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.
Indian Railways has so far cancelled over 245 pairs of trains amid the coronavirus crisis across the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to citizens to follow “Janta curfew” on March 22 in the view of novel coronavirus outbreak. In his address to the nation, he said, “I am seeking one more support from every countryman today. This is a public curfew. Janta curfew means for the public, curfew imposed by the public on its own. Every citizen must follow Janta curfew on this Sunday, March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm.”
Modi said “If possible, please call at least 10 people every day and tell them about the ‘Janta curfew’ as well as the measures to prevent coronavirus,” asking senior citizens to remain indoors for the next few weeks.
Notably, 25 fresh cases were recorded in India on Friday, taking the total affected persons to 223. At least four persons have died, with one death each in Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka.