The Indian Railways have directed a slew of trains on March 22 on account of the “janata curfew” announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 19. According to directives issued to all zonal railways by the Railway Board, nearly 2,400 passenger trains and around 1,300 long-distance and intercity trains have been slated to be cancelled on March 22.
Mr. Modi on March 19 made a call to follow a curfew on March 22 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and requested people to not go out. In its directive, the railways stated that the demand for rail travel will be “vastly reduced during the Janata Curfew” and asked all its zones to regulate all trains in their respective regions including suburban railway network.
Around 2,400 passenger services originating between midnight of March 21 and 10 p.m. of March 22 shall not be run, and approximately 1,300 long-distance mail and express trains as well as intercity trains originating between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. on March 22 will remain cancelled. However, if trains are already on the run at 7 a.m. on March 22, they will be allowed to run to their destinations.
“Divisions should keep a watch and trains which are empty could be short terminated if required. Passengers alighting at en-route stations from trains already on run and desirous of staying at the station may be accommodated in the waiting halls, waiting rooms and concourse, without creating overcrowding conditions. Provision of drinking and refreshments (on payment) shall be arranged to cater to the needs of such passengers,” the directive stated, adding that all railways should create adequate arrangements to facilitate refunds to passengers affected by train cancellations.
The directive stated that suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad shall be reduced to bare minimum levels only to cater to essential travel requirement, keeping in view that March 22 falls on Sunday. The number of services may be decided by the zonal railways as per assessment of local conditions and requirements.
It also directed zonal railways will keep a close watch on the situation at major stations and where needed order special trains to clear rush of passengers who may be stranded at stations despite advance public notice.
The zonal railways, however, have the discretion to run trains on schedule on March 22 if they feel that a large number passengers will get stranded, the Railway Board said in a separate statement later.