The media reports said that the railways will start taking bookings after the lockdown is lifted in mid-April. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
On day 11 of the coronavirus lockdown, there were reports about the Indian Railways planning to restore its passenger train services from April 15. The media reports said that the railways will start taking bookings after the lockdown is lifted in mid-April. Amid the uncertainty over the future of the lockdown, the reports gave credence to the point that the national curfew will end on April 15. However, the top railway officials have trashed the media reports on the resumption of passenger services. In a statement issued on Saturday, the Indian Railways categorically refuted the reports on the 'restoration plan'. 'Certain media reports have come on a post lockdown "restoration plan" with train details, frequency etc. It is to clarify that no such plan regarding the resumption of passenger services has been issued. All concerned would be duly informed about any further decision in this regard,' the statement by the Indian Railways said. (Coronavirus Outbreak Live Updates)
In an unprecedented move, the railways had suspended the services of 13,523 trains for 21 days after the lockdown was announced by the PM on March 24. Its freight trains, however, continued to run during this period. There have been speculations on the extension of the lockdown after reports emerged that Air India will not take any booking till April 30th. The Centre, however, maintains that there is no discussion on the extension of the corona shutdown.
On March 30th, the government had said there was no plan to extend the 21-day lockdown which came into force on March 24 midnight. India is under day 11 of the lockdown aimed at checking the spread of the coronavirus. People have been asked to stay indoors while only those providing or availing essential services are being allowed outside. There have been several reports and speculations that the lockdown may be extended beyond April 14. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India is nearing 3,000 as of Saturday.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had tweeted, saying Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has denied media reports claiming that the government will extend the lockdown. "There are rumours & media reports, claiming that the Government will extend the #Lockdown21 when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary has denied these reports, and stated that they are baseless," it said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the 21-day lockdown on March 24.
There has been a massive exodus of migrant workers from big cities to their villages after being rendered jobless due to the lockdown. These migrant workers, who worked as daily wagers in big cities have started journeying towards their native villages. Many of them have been walking to their destination as there is no public transport. Centre has asked all state governments to seal the borders to stop the movement of migrants. State governments have been asked to provide food and shelter to these migrants wherever they are.
(With agency inputs)