A day after the central government allowed movement of inter-state passenger trains, from May 12 onwards, the Congress on Monday ‘welcomed’ the decision, but urged the Centre to do the same with regards to road and air transport as well.
Reacting to the Centre’s decision today, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram tweeted: “We welcome the decision of the government to cautiously start operations of inter-state passenger trains. The same modest opening should be started with road transport and air transport.”
“The only way economic and commercial activity can effectively begin, is to open road, rail and air services for passengers and goods,” he added.
Notably, while passenger train operations have been shut since late March, the Centre, on May 1, had given permission to states to run ‘Shramik Special’ trains to ferry stranded migrants home.
However, on Sunday, a day before India entered the second and final week of the third phase of the nationwide lockdown, the Government announced that starting May 12, it will run 15 trains, all starting from New Delhi railway station and connecting it to different parts of the country, so that those who are stranded at different places can reach home.
The trains will run from New Delhi to Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Trivandrum, Chennai, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi. This means that in all, a total of 30 trains will be in operation this week.
These trains will have only AC coaches and journey fare will equivalent to that of Rajdhani trains. Passengers will be required to wear masks; also, only those with confirmed tickets will be allowed to enter railway stations and only those who are found asymptomatic will be allowed to board trains.
Bookings, which can be made only through online mode, will begin from 4 PM today.