The Indian Railways denied reports that claimed that it has announced a new travel protocol for passengers which would be in force after the restoration of services. In a clarification issued on Thursday, the Railways said, “It may be brought to the notice of all concerned that Railway Ministry has not issued any protocol as yet as falsely mentioned in the report.”
The Railways also said that it is premature for any media organisation to speculate about the norms of the railway at this stage when the country is trying to contain the coronavirus epidemic. “It is premature to speculate about the norms of railway travel by passengers at this stage. Railways would take best feasible decisions and in the interest of all stakeholders including the prospective passengers. All concerned are requested not to be guided by the rumours or misleading reports in some section of media.”
“All concerned would be intimated about the same as and when a decision is taken about it,” the clarification read.
On the day nationwide lockdown was announced, the government, in an unprecedented move, decided to shut down all passenger train services across India to stop the spread of Covid-19.
As the government considers various options for a post-lockdown exit strategy, the Railways will be speaking to states to understand if there is any need for targeted special trains for limited, essential movement of people, like labourers, those stranded, etc.
This is to enable the national transporter and government to gauge if states would be on board such a plan, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling political parties Wednesday that no one had suggested that the government lift the national lockdown — set to end on April 14 — in one go.
Also on the table are one-off special services on some routes. “Like trains without stops, with limited occupancy, while maintaining social distancing,” an official said.
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