Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian Railways Prepared To Convert 20,000 Coaches Into COVID-19 Isolation Units

To help the government in its effort to contain the spread of coronavirus, Indian Railways said it would be prepared to convert 20,000 coaches into quarantine and isolation coaches which can accommodate up to 3.2 lakh beds for isolation needs.

“As part of COVID-19 preparedness, it has been decided by Indian Railways that it would be prepared to modify 20,000 coaches into quarantine and isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country. In this connection, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of various Zonal Railways, and Ayushman Bharat, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Five Zonal Railways have already prepared prototypes for the quarantine/ isolation coaches,” an official statement said.

“These modified 20,000 coaches can accommodate up to 3.2 lakh possible beds for isolation needs. Work on modification of 5,000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine and isolation coaches, has already started,” it added.

These 5,000 coaches would be having the capacity to accommodate up to 80,000 beds. One coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation.

The Zonal Railways have been advised to plan for the said modifications immediately and inform the date of readiness of these rakes to Railway Board.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country stands at 1,251.

Government Committed To Ensuring Supply Of Essential Goods

Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said the government is committed to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential goods to the public. In a series of tweets, the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry said, “Had a video conference with stakeholders from e-commerce & logistics industry regarding the issues faced due to #COVID2019 lockdown & discussed measures to resolve them.”

“We are committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people in the most convenient and safest manner.”

The meet was attended by representatives from Snapdeal, Shopclues, Flipkart and others.

Earlier in the day, the Centre set up a control room to monitor the status of transportation along with delivery of goods, manufacturing and essential commodities to the public.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has set up the control room to monitor “real time” basis the status of delivery. The facility will also monitor the difficulties being faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown period.

“In the event of any manufacturing, transporter, distributor, wholesaler or e-commerce companies facing ground level difficulties in transport and distribution of goods or mobilization of resources, the same may be informed to this Department…,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had said in a statement

16 Walking Home 335 Km In UP Rescued, Haven’t Eaten In Days, Say Police

Sixteen people who have been walking from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to Samastipur, a distance of some 335 km, during the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic were rescued by the police.

They were walking along a railway track after they could not find transport to go home during the lockdown.

They said they were working in Calicut in Kerala and had managed to reach Jhansi by train just before the railways shut down services.

“From Jhansi, we took a lift from some trucks that were passing by and managed to reach Varanasi but for the onward journey, we have no option but to walk,” one of them said.

The group reached Kuchman railway station when Superintendent of Police Hemant Kutiyal came to know and rescued them. They hadn’t eaten for the last four days, the police said.

One of them said they were walking along the railway track to avoid getting lost.

The police officer said he has got permission to arrange a vehicle for the 16 to be sent home on Thursday.

In another incident, the police in Meerut said they rescued a labourer, his wife and four children who had been walking around in search of food. The family, including the children, has not eaten for more than 48 hours.

“The entire family was in a bad shape. But, thankfully, they reached well in time. We gave them food and some money too,” senior police officer Bijender Rana said.

The labourer, Imran Ahmad, said they did not know how to survive the remaining period of the lockdown. He told the police that there are hundreds of labourers working at brick kilns who are facing a similar plight.

In Lucknow, the police distributed food packets to the homeless under a bridge in the city.

Train Tickets To Be Auto-Refunded Amid Lockdown, Cancellation Not Needed

The IRCTC has asked people not to cancel the tickets they have booked online for those trains that have been cancelled and assured them that they will get full refund automatically.

Earlier, the railways had extended to three months the time to cancel counter tickets till June 21.

The railway subsidiary, IRCTC, said in a statement that doubts have been raised regarding cancellation of e-tickets subsequent to the halting of railway passenger trains.

“No cancellation required on the part of user. If user cancels his ticket, there are chances he may get less refund. Hence, passengers are advised not to cancel e- tickets on their own for those trains which have been cancelled by railways,” it said.

“Refund amount will be credited to the user account used for booking of e-tickets automatically. No charges are deducted by the railways in case of train cancellation,” the statement added.

The railways has cancelled all trains till March 31 in view of coronavirus outbreak.

IRCTC Hits Lower Circuit As Passenger Trains Come To A Halt

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) shares sunk 5 per cent to hit the lower circuit as the government has stopped passenger trains, the lifeline of the country, in order to control the spiralling Covid 19 cases and prevent train travel by panic-struck individuals. The stock of Indian Railways’ catering arm froze at the lower circuit of 5 per cent at Rs 903 at opening bell as the stoppage of trains, and the resultant closure of its food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens across railway stations in the country, will make a huge dent on its revenues.

The railways on Sunday announced the suspension of all passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight as part of the government’s measures to control the spread of Covid. Trains which had started their journey prior to 4 am on March 22 will, however, be allowed to complete their run to the destinations. And around 9,000 goods trains that run every day will operate as usual, the government said.

The suspension of countrywide train services was necessitated by the discovery of some Covid 19 cases among railway passengers and frenzy among hordes of migrant workers to leave metro cities and return to their hometowns.

IRCTC shares have plunged more than half in a mere 17 sessions alone.

The Indian Railways operates 13,500 passenger and mail or long-distance trains every day. All services, including suburban trains, have been discontinued till this month-end, the railways ministry said in an order on Sunday.

The benchmark indices hit the lower circuit of 10 per cent this morning and trading was halted for 45 minutes, after India entered a lockdown joining several countries in their fight against the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

At 11:30 am, post the resumption of trading, the S&P BSE Sensex was at 26,455, lower by 3,421 points and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark was at 7,765, down 978 points.