Indian Railways: Can't run trains only for migrants

Updated: 23 April, 2020 08:01 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

The state government is trying to persuade the Indian Railways to take migrants to their hometowns; the IR officials say the process is extremely complicated.

Railway officials say there are no directives to resume the services till the lockdown is formally lifted. File pic
Railway officials say there are no directives to resume the services till the lockdown is formally lifted. File pic

With Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealing to the Indian Railways to start a few trains for migrant labourers, IR officials said there are no directives of any kind by the Prime Minister's Office to resume the services till the lockdown was formally lifted.

Sources said Maharashtra is trying to use the Bandra mob gathering incident as an excuse to seek the running of a few trains citing law and order problems, which is a state subject. However, there are practical problems about how this would be implemented. Firstly, almost every state has shut its borders to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Secondly, will the Maharashtra government issue health cards certifying that the travelling migrants have tested negative for Coronavirus and that they are no threat to their home states?

Thirdly, one will have to gather a list of all migrants and states that are willing to accept them. By the time this database is achieved, it will almost be April 30. Hence it will be impractical to get this appeal from Maharashtra chief minister to get going.

IR spokesperson said as, on April 22, all passenger trains including suburban services have been cancelled till May 3 with no further instructions.

3 May
Day till when all passenger trains remain cancelled

Indian Railways takes major monetary hit in the lockdown

The Indian Railways (IR) on Wednesday completed exactly one month since shutting down last month. In the past 30 days, IR has suffered extensive monetary loss owing to suspension of services, cancellations and refunds.

Central Railway (CR) alone incurred losses of over Rs 175 crore as compared last year. While in March 2019, the passenger earnings were Rs 482.01 crore, in March 2020, the earnings are just Rs 198.09 crore — a variation of — 58.90 per cent.

In March 2019, CR ferried 155.33 million passengers whereas this year, the figure has come down to 93.81 million — a variation of 39.61 per cent. Overall as an annual figure, Central Railway saw passenger earnings of Rs 5,664.44 crore in the financial year April 2018-March 2019, which dropped to Rs 5,489.11 crore in the financial year April 2019-March 2020 — a variation of -3.10 per cent.

On the other hand, Western Railway (WR) incurred a loss of around Rs 501.51 crore (inclusive of suburban plus non-suburban) till April 20. WR has ensured to refund Rs 203.48 crore due to ticket cancellation till now.

In this refund amount, Mumbai Division itself has ensured a refund of Rs 99.25 crore.

Till now, 32.20 lakh passengers have cancelled their tickets over entire WR and have received their refund amount accordingly.

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First Published: 23 April, 2020 07:21 IST

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