The Indian Railways has announced that it will resume passenger train services in select routes from 12 May. The booking will commence from 11 May only via the official IRCTC website irctc.co.in.
A statement by the ministry of railways said, “Indian Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020, initially with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys). These trains will be run as special trains from New Delhi Station connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.”
The rail ministry said that it will start more special services ‘on new routes, based on the available coaches after reserving 20,000 coaches for COVID-19 care centres and an adequate number of coaches being reserved to enable operation of up to 300 trains every day as Shramik Special for stranded migrants.’
Explaining the booking procedure, the ministry said that ticket booking counters will remain closed, advising commuters to book their tickets by visiting the official website here.
It said, “Booking for reservation in these trains will start at 4 pm on 11th May and will be available only on the IRCTC website (https://www.irctc.co.in/). Ticket booking counters at the railway stations shall remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) shall be issued. Only passengers with valid confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter the railway stations. It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train. Further details including train schedule will be issued separately in due course.”
India is currently going through the third stage of a nationwide lockdown, which is scheduled to end on 17 May. The government has already announced several relaxations. Joint Secretary in the ministry of health, Lav Agarwal, had recently said that Indians will have to live with the virus now.
2,109 people have died across India after contracting COVID-19 virus with the total number of positive cases exceeding 60,000. Maharashtra and Gujarat remain the two worst-hit states.