Following the cancellation of all regular mail, express and passenger services as well as suburban trains till August 12 due to an increase in COVID-19, the Indian Railways on Friday (June 26) said it “may not be possible to run all trains in near future given the coronavirus situation”.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, the Chairman for the Railway Board, talking to reporters, however, said that the number of people coming back to Maharashtra and Gujarat from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is very “encouraging”, that indicates an improvement in the economic situation.
Depending on the current occupancy route, number, and demands from states, the Railways, he added, could introduce more trains.
The spokesperson also said the Railways is monitoring the occupancy position of the special trains on a regular basis and whenever a decision is taken to introduce new special trains, its schedule will be notified.
Regular train services have been disrupted days ahead of the nationwide lockdown which began from March 25.
The Railways has also run more than 4,000 Shramik Special trains since May 1 to ferry migrant workers back to their home states. Other than these services, the entire passenger services had been unoperational.
However, it continued to run its freight and parcel services.
A record spike in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh on Thursday triggered the biggest single-day jump of close to 17,000 infections in the country even as Maharashtra, the state worst-hit by the pandemic, decided to undertake antigen and rapid antibody tests for the disease.
According to the Union Health Ministry data, COVID-19 cases rose by the highest-ever number of 16,922 to reach 4,73,105, while the death toll climbed to 14,894 with 418 new fatalities.
This was the sixth consecutive day when coronavirus cases increased by more than 14,000.
Consequently, India has added 92,573 cases since June 20, and over 2.82 lakh this month alone since June 1.
(With inputs from agencies.)