New Delhi: Hours after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowed transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, during lockdown, the Indian Railways said it has decided to run special parcel van trains to keep up uninterrupted flow of essential commodities in the country. Also Read - Please Don't Rush: Railways Relaxes Train Cancellation Refund Rules From 3 Days to 3 Months

Notably, the Indian Railways had suspended both passenger trains and parcel vans from March 22 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Janata Curfew: Railways to Curtail Services on Sunday, Read Advisory Here

The decision from the Railways comes as a blessing for the e-commerce companies who can now ferry their products on these vans. Giving further information about the parcel vans, the officials of the Indian Railways said that eight parcel specials trains were being run by the railways, 20 more routes are being planned. Also Read - Railways Cancels Over 100 Trains Due to Non-Occupency Amid Coronavirus Epidemic

As per updates, the Northern Railway has already identified some of them like the New Delhi-Gauhati, New Delhi-Mumbai, New Delhi-Kalyan, New Delhi-Howrah, Chandigarh-Jaipur and Moga-Chhangsari routes.

The Railways said that it was necessary to resume parcel van services because essential commodities were in short supply in local markets as most of the labour engaged in loading, unloading had returned to their villages owing to the lockdown.

With ample availability of parcel vans, the Railways will now run such vans on a timetable on identified routes. Moreover, lack of traffic on tracks will also make it easy to send parcel vans across speedily.

“Ensuring quick nationwide transportation of goods and essential commodities, including: Medicines, medical equipment, masks, food Items, Railways will run Special Parcel Trains & fulfil the citizens’ requirements,” tweeted Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.

On the other hand, the freight trains run by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) are regularly supplying essential commodities amid the nationwide lockdown.

In the time of lockdown, foodgrains, salt, sugar, coal, fertilisers and petroleum products are being unloaded at several sidings in the freight trains.

Railway employees are providing essential services at goods sheds and stations while control offices are operational 24/7 to ensure smooth movement of freight trains.