The Indian Railways on Wednesday issued a list of 100 pairs of trains that will operate from June 1. The railways said these trains will have both air conditioned and non-air conditioned coaches. The coaches will be fully reserved, including the one with general seating, and bookings will begin at 10 am on Thursday, it said.
India has been under a nationwide lockdown since March 25 in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. As of Wednesday, the country had reported 1,06,750 cases of Covid-19, including 3,303 deaths. The lockdown, which has been extended thrice, is scheduled to end on May 31.
Only e-ticketing will be permitted through the website of the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation, or through its mobile application, the railways said on Wednesday. No tickets can be booked across the reservation counter. The fare charged for general seating will be the same as for second seating, Indian Railways said.
The Advance Reservation Period will be 30 days, the notification said. No unreserved tickets will be issued and no tickets will be issued onboard to any passenger during the journey. “Tatkal” ticketing is also not allowed. “First chart shall be prepared at least 4 hours before scheduled departure and second chart shall be prepared at least 2 hours [unlike present practice of 30 minutes] before scheduled departure,” the notification added.
All passengers shall be compulsorily screened. Only passengers who are asymptomatic will be allowed to board the trains.
The notification added that all passengers must wear face masks while travelling. The passengers must reach the station at least 90 minutes before the departure of the train, to allow time for thermal screening. Physical distancing will be observed both on the stations and on the trains.
At present, over 300 “Shramik Special” trains are in operation to ferry migrant labourers to their hometowns. Fifteen other trains have also been started in pairs for the general public, with Delhi as one of the terminating stations.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation also allowed domestic flights to resume in a “calibrated manner” from May 25.