India has seen a steady increase in coronavirus cases over the past few days, and the tally of confirmed cases is now over 70,000. The outbreak prompted the government to impose a 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 25 that has been extended twice since. As things stand, the lockdown will go on officially till May 17. However, the central government has announced some relaxations to the lockdown, one of which is the restarting of special passenger trains starting Tuesday, May 12.
Indian Railways will be operating fifteen pairs of trains connecting New Delhi with Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi. The time table for these trains can be found here.
However, given the severity of the health crisis the country is facing, here are a few conditions that you must adhere to, if you are planning to book yourself on any of these trains:
1. Bookings for these special trains can only be made through the IRCTC website, and ticket counters on railway stations will remain closed. Additionally, no platform tickets will be issued, and only those who have valid, confirmed reservations will be allowed to enter the railway stations. Bookings can be made a maximum of seven days prior to the scheduled date of departure.
2. The trains will only have First Class AC, Second Class AC and Third Class AC coaches. The fare structure for these trains will be the same as that of the Rajdhani trains operated by the Indian Railways.
3. Online cancellation of train bookings is permitted up to 24 hours before scheduled departure. A 50 per cent cancellation charge will be applicable.
4. All passengers will go through a screening process at the point of departure, and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the trains. Passengers are required to arrive at the railway station at least 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure, so that the thermal screening procedure can be carried out properly. Additionally, all passengers are required to cover their faces, and observe social distancing norms at the railways stations as well as on the train, to contain the spread of coronavirus.
5. To reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus, Indian Railways will not be providing curtains, linens or blankets to the passengers, and passengers are advised to carry their own linen.
6. According to a tweet issued by the official Ministry of Railways handle, it is mandatory for all passengers to install the Aarogya Setu app on their phones before travelling on the trains.
Indian Railways is going to start few passenger trains services. It is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey
Download this app now –
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) May 11, 2020
7. After disembarking at their destinations, passengers will have to follow the health protocols outlined by the concerned state or union territory authorities.
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