The restart of some train services was announced late on Sunday. India’s rail, road and air services were suspended in March to stop Covid-19 infection to spread into the country’s interior.
The Indian Railways is resuming passenger train operations from Tuesday, nearly two months after services were stopped due to the nationwide lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The railways opened bookings for passenger services on Monday with 15 trains a day connecting Delhi to Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and other big cities.
“Thereafter, Indian Railways shall start more special services on new routes,” the government said in a statement. The rail network, among the world’s largest, carries over 20 million people each day and is the lifeline for people living in far flung corners of the country.
The Railways ministry said that reservations were issued to more than 54,000 passengers, according to news agency ANI. Bookings for 15 passenger trains started from 6 pm on Monday, two hours behind the scheduled opening time.
he Railways has made Aarogya Setu mobile application, which helps in tracking the spread of the virus, mandatory for passengers who want to board the trains.
All first AC three-tier AC tickets for the Howrah-New Delhi train were sold within the first 10 minutes and all seats were reserved in 20 minutes, news agency PTI quoted IRCTC as saying. The Howrah-New Delhi train is scheduled to begin its journey from Howrah at 5:05 pm on Tuesday.
All AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi special trains were also sold by 6.30 pm.
The restart of some train services was announced late on Sunday, when India’s coronavirus infections jumped by 4,214 - the highest ever - to 67,152.
India’s rail, road and air services were suspended in March to stop Covid-19 infection to spread into the country’s interior, but the case numbers have risen daily. But officials say the spread of the disease was largely contained due to the stringent restrictions.
Deaths from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has reached 2,206, the ministry of health said on Monday. A fifth of India’s cases come from the densely populated cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Pune, which are also major centres of economic activity.
At a meeting with the chief ministers on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that resumption of train services is needed to rev up the economic activity, but said that all the routes will not be resumed and only a limited number of trains would ply, according to ANI.