No passenger train will originate from any railway station in the country from midnight to 10 pm on Sunday in view of the "Janta curfew" announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a railway order issued on Friday.
It stated that mail and express trains will also stop services from 4 am to 10 pm on Sunday while all suburban train services will be reduced to a bare minimum as well.
"All passenger trains originating between midnight of March 21/March 22 to 22:00 hours of March 22 (approximately 2,400 services) shall not be run. However, the passenger train services already on run at 0700 hours on the day will be allowed to run to the destinations. Divisions should keep a watch and trains which are empty could be short terminated, if required," the railway order said.
It also said the decision has been taken in view of the coronavirus outbreak and the fact that the demand will be less due to 'Janta Curfew'.
Suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad shall be reduced to bare minimum level only to cater to essential travel.
The order stated that passengers alighting from trains already on the run, and desirous of staying at the station will be accommodated in waiting halls, waiting rooms and concourse without creating overcrowding conditions while provisions for drinking water, refreshments on payment shall be arranged.
"Adequate arrangements may be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations. 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," it stated.
As of now, the Indian Railways has cancelled 245 trains in order to restrict unnecessary travel following the coronavirus outbreak.
Pitching for "social distancing", PM Modi on Thursday called for a 'Janta curfew' from 7 am to 9 pm on March 22, saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of their houses, and asserted that it will be a litmus test to show India's readiness to take on the coronavirus challenge.
This experience will serve the nation well, he has said.
"This Sunday, that is on March 22, all citizens must follow this curfew from 7 am until 9 pm. During this curfew, we shall neither leave our homes, nor get onto the streets and refrain from roaming about in our societies or areas. Only those associated with emergency and essential services may leave their homes," the prime minister said.