Various zones of the Indian Railways on Thursday discontinued several trains till further notice in view of surge in coronavirus cases and low occupancy, The Indian Express reported.

The Northern Railways cancelled 28 trains plying to and from the national Capital Delhi. The list includes premium trains, like Rajdhani Express to Chennai and Bilsapur and eight Shatabdi Express, including those to places like Kalka, Habibganj, Amritsar, Chandigarh, according to PTI. Duronto Express trains to Jammu Tawi and Pune have also been cancelled.

The Central Railways has cancelled 23 passenger trains, including three special trains which have been put off till June-end, The Indian Express.

Officials in other railway zones said they too have taken similar decisions and will continue to rationalise the number of trains based on demand.

They, however, added that the move should not be seen as an indication of suspension of train services due to the pandemic. “Since occupancy is low, people are just not travelling, it is decided to temporarily discontinue a number of trains,” a railway ministry official told the newspaper.

A ministry spokesperson said that it was a dynamic process to discontinue regular trains with lowe ocuupancy and make special ones with sustained demand, permanent.

Last year, regular train services were suspended after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide coronavirus lockdown in March. The services were gradually resumed from June.

India on Friday recorded 4,14,188 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,14,91,598 since the pandemic broke out last year. This is the highest rise in daily cases and the third instance, after May 1, when the count rose by more than 4 lakh. The toll climbed by 3,915 deaths to 2,34,083.

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