Millennium Post (Kolkata)
‘No state has asked to stop train services’
NEW DELHI: No state has asked the railways to stop any train service yet, Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma said on Friday, adding that wherever the states have raised concerns about containment zones, passengers have undergone random tests and checks at the destinations.
Addressing a press conference, Sharma said the railways has highlighted that all protocols are being followed by the states on the IRCTC's e ticketing website, advising passengers if they need to undergo an RT-PCR test or carry COVIDnegative certificates while travelling to certain areas.
"As of now, no state government has asked us to stop trains. However, whenever there are concerns, the state governments have discussed the issues with us and where there are containment zones, they are doing random tests and checks. The railways has all these details on the e-ticketing website and passengers are provided information on whether they have to undergo tests or carry a COVID-negative certificate on arrival," he said.
Sharma also said the railways is doing a thermal screening of the passengers and has also notified the fine amounts for not following COVID protocols.
He ruled out running Shramik Special trains and said trains will be run wherever there is demand and requirement.
Sharma also said the price of platform tickets has been increased at several stations to discourage crowding.
"We have 4,000 isolation coaches for COVID-19 at different locations across the country. We have received a demand from Nandurbar in Maharashtra for over 100 coaches and 20 isolation coaches have been provided," he said when asked about the converted coaches that can act as COVID care centres.
Sharma said the railways is keeping a close watch on all stations in Mumbai, Gujarat, Karnataka and wherever the demand is high, the zonal general managers have been authorised to operate more trains.
"I assure you that there is no dearth of services, the situation is quite normal, particularly in Mumbai, Surat and Bengaluru," he said.
The Indian Railways is currently running 1,490 mail and express trains and 5,397 suburban train services on an average per day.
"We are also running 28 clone trains of highly-patronised trains and 947 passenger trains," Sharma said, adding that 70 per cent of the train services have been restored.
"To clear the extra rush across the country, the railways is operating 140 additional trains," he said.
Sharma said the 140 special trains will make 483 trips in April and May.
Citing the figures of the additional trains operating in several states, he said the Central Railway is operating 85 such services which will complete 284 trips, the Western Railway is operating 28 trains for 152 trips, the Northern Railway is operating 15 special trains for 19 trips, the East Central Railway is operating two special trains for four trips, the North Eastern Railway is operating nine trains for 14 trips and the North Central Railway is operating one train for 10 trips.
Sharma also said trains for high-demand destinations such as Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Manduadih, Prayagraj, Bihar's Patna, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Barauni, Jharkhand's Bokaro, Ranchi, Assam's Guwahati and West Bengal's Kolkata are also being operated.