Railways take many sops off to prevent travel

Nagpur: The Indian Railways revoked concessions on ticket booking Thursday after several low-occupancy trains were cancelled on many routes due to coronavirus alert.

To discourage unnecessary travel and to prevent vulnerable groups of senior citizens from undertaking unnecessary travel, concessional booking of all tickets, except for patients, students and divyangjan (persons with disabilities) category for the unreserved and reserved section was suspended from 20 March.

Central Railway has also barred with immediate effect all outsiders from accessing the office premises of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM).

Until 31 March, 155 pairs of low-occupancy trains have been cancelled as a precautionary measure and to prevent non-essential travel and overcrowding of trains.

“Trains are cancelled taking into account the availability of alternate trains for passengers and ensuring that no passenger is left stranded. All passengers will be given a full refund if the train has been cancelled, “railway officials said.

Indian Railways has also facilitated the return of stranded students to their homes in southern, northeastern and eastern parts of India due to the sudden closure of educational institutions.

Passengers are advised to avoid non-essential train journeys and to ensure they do not have a running fever when they begin their journey. Whenever a passenger thinks he has a fever, he can contact railway staff at any stage on the journey for medical treatment and more support.

To avoid excessive crowding at railway stations following Covid-19 spread, Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) were instructed to review the situation at railway stations and increase platform ticket prices to Rs50 where appropriate.

In addition to Nagpur, Chandrapur, Ballarshah, Betul, Sewagram and Wardha under Central Railway, ticket prices for the platform were increased to Rs50 under South East Central Railway (SECR) at Itwari and Gondia stations.

All SECR and Central Railway have stepped up passenger drive against spitting and littering. “We have been penalizing 289 passengers in the last 18 days, from 1 to 18 March, and recovering a fine of Rs30,000,” said SG Rao, Central Railway spokesperson. Similarly, 110 cases were reported by SECR and a fine of Rs10,800 was recuperated.

SECR made sanitary hand washing compulsory for all those who enter the administrative building of the DRM office. And the DRM and other officials are instructed to push it along.

Daily announcements are made at railway stations and on board trains to sensitize the public about various dos & don’t to keep hands clean with regular washing, maintaining social distance and covering the mouth when sneezing and coughing.

Even as routine steps are being taken, passengers have been spurred on to cancel tickets. About 60,500 bonafide passengers in Nagpur Division have cancelled tickets in the last five days. Of these, 45,000 passengers were station-only from Nagpur.

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