A day after suspending regular train services till August 12 on account of an increase in Covid-19 cases, the Indian Railways Friday said it “may not be possible to run all trains in near future given the coronavirus situation”.
Speaking to reporters, the Chairman for the Railway Board, Vinod Kumar Yadav, however, expressed optimism that the trend of people coming back to Maharashtra and Gujarat from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is very “encouraging”, indicating an improvement in the economic situation.
More trains to be introduced in near future depending on current occupancy on routes, Covid numbers in states and demand from states: Chairman Railway Board @IndianExpress
— Avishek Dastidar (@avishekgd) June 26, 2020
The Railways, he added, could introduce more trains depending on current occupancy on routes, Covid-19 numbers in states and demand from states.
The Indian Railways have doubled up train coaches as isolation centres for coronavirus patients. So far, over 5,000 coaches have been converted into Covid isolation coaches across India. The Railways had also begun the production of low-cost ventilators at the Rail Coach Factory, which it has now stopped.
“It was a conscious call to not go ahead with the development of ventilators in Railways. Instead, it was decided to help existing Indian ventilator makers to ramp up production,” Yadav said.
Besides, the Railways has received Rs 620 crore from the Central Covid fund as of now. “The arrangement is there with the Finance ministry. If needed, we can get more (funding). There are no constraints in terms of the Covid fund,” he said, adding the Railways will also seek request for qualification from private train operators in the first week of July.
The Indian Railways had resumed its limited services to run at full capacity on May 12 after a hiatus of nearly two months after all the trains were cancelled due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
On June 1, in the second phase of graded resumption of passenger train operations, it pushed into service 100 more trains, including 17 Jan Shatabdis, five Durontos and a number of traditionally popular mail or express trains to various parts of India.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines