Updated: September 12, 2020 2:11:13 pm
South Eastern Railway (SER) General Manager Sanjay Kumar Mohanty on Friday said his division and Eastern Railway would soon meet the West Bengal government to work out plans to resume train services.
“The state government had also expressed its desire to run local trains. We will soon have a meeting with state authorities. Once we resume services, we will definitely promote digitisation like Metro railways. It has to be a joint plan of South Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway in coordination with the state. The services will be started gradually,” he said.
On August 28, the state government had urged the Railways to allow a limited number of local trains to be operated, along with Kolkata Metro. In a letter to Railway Board Chairperson Vinod Kumar Yadav, Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said train services could be restarted after implementing mechanisms to ensure Covid-19 protocols are followed.
In the Unlock 4.0 guidelines issued the following day, the Centre allowed Metro trains to run from September 7 in a gradual manner, but kept local suburban train services suspended.
At Friday’s virtual press conference, SER officials hinted that trains may resume operations before Durga Puja next month. The final call would be taken after consulting the state.
Sharing the division’s performance in the first quarter of the current financial year, officials said because of the Covid-19 freight loading numbers were down 23.8 per cent in the quarter compared to the corresponding period a year ago. In the first quarter, 31.34 million tonnes of goods was loaded, while in the corresponding period a year back it was 41.12 million tonnes.
In July, goods loading bounced back, with the numbers increasing 8.72 per cent over August 2019. SER officials said several steps had been taken to ease transportation and decrease congestion at terminals.
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