As the coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire, India prepares for the worst. On Sunday, the country is set to observe a ‘Janta curfew’ or a ‘People’s Curfew’. In light of this, several trains have been cancelled, especially after it was reported that several infected patients had travelled via train and potentially stand the risk of spreading the infection to others. Over 3,700 passenger trains scheduled to start between Saturday midnight to 10 pm on Sunday will stay grounded in the wake of “Janata curfew” announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid coronavirus outbreak. Now the East Coast Railway (ECoR) on Saturday cancelled 72 mail and express trains as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Most of the trains cancelled were to run on Sunday. Some other trains, which were to run next week, have also been cancelled
The trains cancelled for Sunday include:
Puri-Howrah Dhauli Express
Puri-Sambalpur Inter City Express
Bhubaneswar-Howrah Jan Shatabdi Express
Bhubaneswar-Anand Vihar (New Delhi)
Odisha Sampark Kranti Express
Bhubaneswar-Bangalore Prashanti Express
Bhubaneswar-Bangiriposi Express, Bhubaneswar-Balangir Inter City Express
Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam Inter City Express and Bhubaneswar-Tirupati Express.
The local trains that have been cancelled for Sunday include the Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMUs) –
The East Coast Railway had on Wednesday cancelled five pairs of trains as a precautionary measure and had appealed to all passengers to avoid non-essential travel due to the coronavirus.
In addition, Railways said on Friday said that no passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday.
The decision, the Railways said, was taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak and keeping in mind that the demand will be less due to ‘Janata Curfew’.
Moreover, Indian Railways has decided to relax its refund policy for tickets booked from its counters. According to the press release issued by South Western Railways, passengers cancelling their ticket scheduled between March 21 to April 15 can file for a refund up to 30 days from the date of journey. Earlier this period was only for three days.
If a ticket scheduled between March 21 to April 15 is cancelled by Indian Railways, passengers can claim for a refund across counters up to 45 days from the date of journey. These relaxations are to ensure that passengers can conveniently claim refunds at a later date, without crowding the stations. Apart from washing hands and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, “social distancing” is crucial to avoid community transmission of the deadly virus.
The Prime Minister on Thursday called for a ‘Janata curfew’ from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22, saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of their houses. The experience will serve the nation well and will show India’s readiness to take on the coronavirus challenge, he said.
“This Sunday, that is on March 22, all citizens must follow this curfew from 7 am until 9 pm. During this curfew, we shall neither leave our homes nor get onto the streets and refrain from roaming about in our societies or areas. Only those associated with emergency and essential services leave their homes,” Modi said during his address to the nation.
The move was aimed at creating awareness about “social distancing” which is a powerful weapon in the fight against coronavirus.
(With ANI inputs)