Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

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.

Railways to release full salary to contractual workers during suspension of service

In a huge relief to lakhs of contractual employees, the railways has decided to release their full salaries even as it suspended all its passenger services till March 31.

In an order issued on Tuesday, the railways has said that due to prevailing coronavirus situation in India and the stoppage of trains, several contractual staff engaged in on-board housekeeping service, sanitation, pantry car and commercial activities have been stranded and have to compulsorily stay at other places, while others have to be in readiness to attend the duties at a short notice.

“In order to reduce the hardship being faced by these workers, (Railway) Board has decided to treat the employees of private establishments (including temporary, contractual, outsourcesd) engaged in providing services in trains, stations and offices, directly affected with suspension of services and lockdown situations, as on duty and be paid accordingly till the expiry of suspension of services/lockdown or as advised by the central government in this regard,” according to an order. “Maximum payment which may be made shall be limited to 70 per cent of the contract value for contracts awarded on lump sum basis,” the order stated.

An official clarified that in any contract, the major component is labour. “Hence, to pay labour 100 per cent salaries, it has been kept at 70 per cent of total contract value. It is clarified, in this time no material is being consumed as trains are not functioning,” the official said. The Railway Board has also advised zones to ensure that these employees are not retrenched due to this suspension of services /lockdown and are paid in the manner prescribed.

Coronavirus Shutdown Update: 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.

Indian Railways working 24×7 to ensure supply of necessary items, all passenger trains stopped but goods trains running

In the wake of the lockdown in several parts of the country due to the pandemic coronavirus COVID-19, the Indian Railways has shut down its services for the passengers across the country. However, to ensure the timely supply of necessary items, all goods trains have been working 24×7, said the Railways on Wednesday.

A statement read that reports claiming that “entire train services have been stopped”, is causing problems at the field level as the police and administration officials in the area do not get to read the circular and believe that all train services have been stopped. As a result, they believe that the required duty Railway employees are also being stopped.

“To ensure the necessary supply, the Railways is working on 24X7. Although all passenger carrying trains have been stopped, the Goods trains are still running,” further read the statement.

“We are ensuring supply by carrying goods like food grains, coal, POL, milk, vegetables etc., which is very important for society. We clearly understand our responsibility during the next few months,” added the statement.

During the ongoing crisis, the Ministry of Railways has decided to use the manufacturing facilities of its production units like Chittaranjan Loco Works, Chittaranjan, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Diesel Loco Works, Varanasi, Rail Wheel Factory, Yelehanka to manufacture essential items which can be utilized for the treatment of affected people.

The ministry took the decision in consultation with Production Units and Zonal Railway workshops.

The railway board has issued necessary instructions to the general managers of these production units to explore the feasibility of manufacture of items like simple hospital beds (without mattress), medical trolleys for hospitals and quarantine facilities, IV stands, stretchers, hospital footsteps, hospital bedside lockers, washbasins with stands, ventilators, PPEs like masks, sanitizers, water tanks etc.

It has entrusted the tasks to the general managers to explore the feasibility in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of the zone and manufacture it in large quantities.

The total number of Coronavirus positive cases has crossed 500 and the death toll stands at 10.

No Food Services In Trains From March 22, Says Railway Catering Firm

The IRCTC has ordered the closure of all onboard catering services in mail or express trains from March 22 until further notice in view of the coronavirus outbreak, according to an order from the railway subsidiary on Friday.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has also decided to close all food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens until further notice.

“The static units supplying meals to prepaid trains which are in operation may continue to operate. The onboard catering services in mail express trains and TSV trains should be closed until further advice,” the order stated.

It also said that if there is a demand of onboard services then only propriety article depot (PAD) items, tea and coffee may be allowed to be sold in trains.

“Such operation should be conducted using minimum number of staff. The licensee should be requested to take care of their catering staff on humanitarian grounds during this period of closure.

“These instructions shall come into force from March 22. For the purpose of license fee this period will be covered under force majeure. If there is a demand, license is permitted to sell PAD items, tea and coffee,” the order stated.

Bengaluru Rail Official Allegedly Hid Son Who Had Coronavirus, Suspended

A railway official in Bengaluru has been suspended for hiding her son, who returned from abroad and later tested positive for coronavirus or COVID 19, officials said on Friday.

The officer allegedly concealed the travel history of her son; the 25-year-old had returned from Spain.

The woman, an Assistant Personnel Officer, also booked her son into a room in the Guest House of the Railway Colony near the main Bangalore railway station, said South Western Railway.

She “endangered the lives of others” by lodging him in the railway rest house, railway spokesperson E Vijaya told the Press Trust of India.

“She virtually hid her son to protect her family but endangered all of us,” a South Western Railway official said.

The son has been admitted to hospital. He had been instructed to home quarantine himself after he landed at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on March 13. Five days later, he tested positive for COVID-19.

“The son of railway official had returned from Spain. She was posted in Bangalore. The guest House in Bangalore was quarantined and people  – who came in contact with him – have been sent to home quarantine after primary check- up,” a senior official told NDTV.

Sixteen coronavirus cases, including one death, have been reported in Karnataka. Nearly 100 people are in isolation at hospitals across the state. More than half of them are being monitored at Bengaluru.

Across India, the number of coronavirus cases has climbed to nearly 200. Four people have died.

25% Drop In Mumbai’s Western Railway Commuters Amid Coronavirus Fears

The number of commuters on suburban trains of the Western Railway (WR) reduced by more than 8 lakh on the day Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to people to avoid non-essential travel in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

According to WR, on Tuesday 32.60 lakh passengers travelled on their suburban trains as against 40.75 lakh on Monday (down 8.15 lakhs).

“The number of commuters reduced by around 25 per cent,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief spokesperson of WR.

On Tuesday, Mr Thackeray had appealed to people to avoid train and bus journey if not necessary, while clarifying the government does not want to stop suburban services to contain the coronavirus spread.

Suburban services are the lifeline of Mumbai and daily over 80 lakh commuters commute by them.

Though exact passenger count on Central Railway’s suburban trains was not available, a senior official said the number of passengers could have reduced by 7-9 lakh on Tuesday.

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to reduce public transport commuter count by at least 50 per cent as part of measures to avoid crowding and enforce social distancing.

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