The Railway Ministry on Monday issued a Standard Operating Procedure for special railway services starting from Tuesday. Railway services throughout the country were suspended in March, when a nationwide lockdown was imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown is scheduled to end on May 17.
On Sunday, the Centre had announced that 15 pairs of special trains would be run to and fro from Delhi from Tuesday.
In its SOP, the ministry said that no linen, curtains or blankets will be provided to the passengers, so they must bring their own. The ministry also encouraged passengers to get their own food and water. However, it said that dry, ready-to-eat food and bottled water will be provided to the passengers on payment.
The SOP said that no food stalls will be open at railway stations on the way, and no train-side vending will be allowed. It also advised passengers to install the Aarogya Setu app.
Passengers must reach the train station at least 90 minutes before departure, the ministry said, adding that only passengers who are asymptomatic for the coronavirus and carrying confirmed tickets will be allowed to board. The trains will have only air-conditioned coaches.
The ministry said all passengers must wear face masks on board, and observe social distancing. The passengers will also have to adhere to health protocols prescribed by the states in which their destination lies.
Online cancellation of tickets will be allowed up to 24 hours before the departure time of the train, and the cancellation charges will be 50% of the cost of the ticket.
“Zonal Railways has been instructed to ensure that there are separate entry and exit gates at railway stations to the extent feasible so that there is no face to face movement of passengers,” the press release added. The trains being run will be in addition to the “Shramik Special” trains carrying migrant labourers home.
India has so far reported 67,152 cases of Covid-19, including 2,206 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.