Government mulls curbing train travel as Covid-19 cases rise, 13,000 trains may be affected

NEW DELHI: Train services in the country may come to a screeching halt as the government plans to curb train travel among panic-stricken citizens, to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Indian Railways is considering stopping services of the 13,000 trains it runs daily, to prevent people from rushing to their hometowns as mega cities shut down.

This comes while 3,500 to 4,000 train services were already affected on Sunday amid the janta curfew imposed nationwide. Total number of Covid-cases in India rose to 341 on Sunday, as the disease claimed lives of six people in the country.

The curb on train travel may be in effect till March 25, according to sources, but clarity will emerge only once an official statement from the government is in.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal is meeting with Railway board members today to discuss the extent of the curb on rail travel in the country, according to two people close to developments.

“We are mulling a larger, nation-wide curb on rail travel as railways remain the biggest carrier of Covid-19,” one of the people said, seeking anonymity. “All train services will be affected,” the official said.

The decision, however, is not yet final, and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, as well as the Prime Minister’s office are likely to take a call given the scale of impact of the decision, the official said.

An official statement from the ministry of railways is expected later on Sunday.

The Indian Railways operates around 9,000 passenger trains and 3,500 mail express services each day.

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