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Janata curfew: 3,700 trains canceled on Sunday | India News


NEW DELHI: Railways announced on Friday the cancellation of 3,700 passengers and long-distance mail / express trains on Sunday to coincide with the ‘janata curfew’, in a move that sparked speculation as to whether the country was being groomed for a blockage that may have to be enforced if there is an increase in coronavirus cases.

According to the railroad order, “No passenger or express train will originate from any railroad station in the country between midnight Saturday / Sunday at 10pm Sunday.”

In the order issued Friday night, the Railroad Board said that suburban rail services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad will be reduced to the minimum level only to cater for essential travel. Each zone has been delegated the power to decide the number of trains they wish to allow on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked people to implement a “janata curfew” on Sunday by confining themselves to their homes for 14 hours, starting at 7 am. Although the Prime Minister suggested that it was up to the people to observe the “curfew” voluntarily, the decision by the railways to reduce services on the world’s second largest network to the skeletal level, led many to wonder whether Sunday’s exercise it was a preparatory drill for a larger shutdown if that becomes necessary.

Under the order, passenger trains (excluding suburban services) will not originate from any rail stations in the country from Saturday / Sunday at midnight until 10 p.m. Sunday, resulting in the cancellation of nearly 2,400 trains.

“However, passenger train services already in operation at 7 am on Sunday will be able to run to their destinations. Divisions must watch and trains that are empty could end briefly, if necessary, “he said.

All long distance / express and intercity mails originating between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday will also be canceled. Their numbers are estimated at approximately 1,300 trains. “However, trains already running at 7am a day (Sunday) will be able to run to their destinations. Divisions must keep watch and trains that are empty could end briefly, if necessary,” the order said.

The Board issued instructions to all areas to ensure that passengers already traveling on trains or arriving at stations during closure do not face any problems. He said that passengers who get off the en-route stations of trains that are already in operation and those who wish to stay at the stations can be accommodated in waiting rooms, waiting rooms and lobbies without creating crowds.

“Adequate arrangements can be made to facilitate smooth reimbursement to passengers affected by train cancellations,” the order said. He also delegated power to division managers to operate special trains, if the rush has to be cleared.

The “social distancing” campaign, which PM Modi has called the “janata curfew” will be observed from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22. He appealed to citizens, prohibiting those in essential services from leaving their homes.

IRCTC, the railroad’s ticketing and catering arm, issued an order on Friday to its five group general managers to close food places, snack halls, jan aahaar and cell kitchens until further orders on Sunday. He also said that on-board catering services by mail and express trains should be closed. He asked his vendors to “take care of their catering staff for humanitarian reasons” during this shutdown.

Amid reports from some states that they ordered the cancellation of other modes of public transportation, particularly buses, officials with the highway ministry said they were not giving instructions. “States can make decisions based on their requirements,” said an official.

Times of India