New Delhi: As India enter Unlock 4, the Ministry of Railway on Tuesday announced that more special trains are being planned to bring back passengers to their home states amid the coronavirus. The state governments are being consulted for the same, the ministry said. Also Read - Another Blow to China as Railways Floats Fresh Tender, Pushes 'Make in India' For 44 Vande Bharat Trains
Regular train services were cancelled on March 25 this year due to the outbreak of deadly COVID-19 infection. The IRCTC had suspended all rail services on April 15 and started limited special trains for migrant labourers and stranded Indians across the country. Also Read - Indian Railways News: Train Travel Likely to Become Expensive Soon | Read Details
While 30 Rajdhani-like air-conditioned trains were started initially, the Railways added 200 more trains that begun services on June 1. Also Read - 50 Stations, 151 Trains: How Privatisation of Indian Railways Will Bring in 'Modern' Change
Last month, the Indian Railways further asserted that it had no plans to resume passenger train services and it will remain suspended “until further notice”.
Presently, the Indian Railways has 230 ‘Shramik’ special trains which will continue to operate during the course of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, local and suburban trains have also been shut, barring only Mumbai where the local trains are considered the lifeline. The Ministry had noted that Mumbai trains are presently being run on a limited basis only on the requisition of the state government, will also continue to run.
At the same time, under Unlock 4 guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the Centre has allowed metro rail services “in a graded manner” across cities from September 7, and the return of up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff in schools outside the containment zones from September 21.
The government in its new guidelines has said that the states will no longer be permitted to impose lockdowns outside the containment zones without the Ministry of Home Affairs permission.