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New Delhi, March 22, 2020
In major decisions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government today decided to cancel all trains across the country till March 31 and to allow only essential services to operate in about 75 districts with confirmed cases of the virus.
The decisions were taken at a high-level video conference held here this morning by the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister with the Chief Secretaries of all States.
All the Chief Secretaries informed the meeting that there is overwhelming and spontaneous response to the call for 14-hour "Janata Curfew" given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the day today.
"In view of the need to contain the spread of COVID-19, it was agreed that there is urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport including inter-state transport buses till 31st March 2020," an official pess release said.
"Following detailed discussions, the State Governments were advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties relating to COVID-19.
"The State Governments may expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation. It was noted that several State Governments have already issued orders in this regard," the release said.
The meeting decided that all train services suspended till March 31, including suburban rail services. However, goods trains will be exempted.
All metro rail services will be suspended till March 31. State Governments will issue orders allowing only essential services to operate in about 75 districts with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Inter-State passenger transport will also be suspended till March 31, the release said.
In keeping with the decision, the Indian Railways today extended the cancellation of all passenger train services across the country till midnight on March 31.
Accordingly, all originating long-distance Mail/Express and Inter-City trains, including premium trains, and all originating passenger trains shall remain cancelled till 2400 hours on March 31, a circular from the Railway Board to all Zonal Railways and the Konkan Railway said.
Suburban trains and trains of Metro Railway, Kolkata shall be contineud at bare minimum level until midnight tonight.
Thereafter, all suburban trains and trains of Metro Railway, Kolkata shall be totally cancelled from midnight tonight till midnight on March 31, it said.
Trains which had commenced their journey prior to 0400 hours of March 22 will run up to their destinations.
Freight operations shall, however, continue, the circular said.
The Railways had yesterday advised the zonal railways to regulate train services for Sunday in view of the Janata Curfew being observed across the country as part of the fight against COVID-19, because demand was expected to be vastly reduced.
It said suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderbad shall be reduced to bare minimum level on Sunday .
It also said all passenger trains originating between midnight of 21/22.03.20 to 2200 hrs of 22.03.20 shall be cancelled.
All long-distance mail/express and Intercity trains (including Premium trains) originating between 0400 hrs and 2200 hrs on Sunday were cancelled.
The Railways have made arrangements to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations.
The Government has also decided to close down metro rail services on all operational networks across the country till March 31.