GUWAHATI, March 22 - In wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Indian Railways today announced the suspension of passenger train service across the country till March 31.
�In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, it has been decided that all passenger train services on Indian Railways including Premium trains, Mail/Express trains, passenger trains, suburban trains, Kolkata Metro Rail, Konkan Railway, etc. will remain cancelled till the March 31 midnight. Accordingly, all passenger carrying trains coming towards the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone and originating from NFR will also remain cancelled till March 31 midnight,� said an official statement issued by the Maligaon-headquartered NFR.
It said that trains which had already commenced their journey prior to 4 am today will run up to their destinations.
�Adequate arrangements will be made for the passengers who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations,� said the statement.
However, goods trains will continue to operate.
�To ensure (availability of) the essential supplies in various parts of the country, movement of goods trains will continue,� the statement added.
Adequate arrangements will be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations.
Sources said that around a dozen people who have been infected with COVID-19 travelled in trains at various places across the country between March 13 and 16.
Indian Railways operates over 12,000 passenger trains daily.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, �Strengthening precautions against COVID-19, Railways has decided that no passenger train will run up to 31st March. Let us work together as #IndiaFightsCorona.�
Nripen Bhattacharya, Public Relations Officer of NFR, said that on average around 250 passenger trains, both long-distance and local, ply in the zone every day.
Meanwhile, two special trains, bringing people of Assam who were stranded in south India, are on way to Guwahati.
A special train which departed from Ernakulam Junction on March 20 will arrive at the Guwahati railway station tomorrow at 8.45 am.
Another special train, which left Mangalore on March 21, will reach Guwahati at 8.45 am on March 24.
Bhattacharya said that the State health department has made arrangements for screening of passengers at the station and the transport department is expected to provide buses to take people to their respective destinations.