While lockdown is the need of the hour to contain the deadly COVID-19 outbreak that has gripped the nation, it has brought a certain degree of chaos for the passengers who are left stranded after the suspension of railway services.
A day after the Indian Railway put off its services till March 31, it announced on Monday that stranded passengers can stay in retiring rooms at stations all across the country till services are resumed.
All station masters have been instructed to enforce the relaxation in this norm quickly for the benefit of stranded passengers, the ministry said.
“It has been brought to notice that some passengers who were in retiring rooms and booked to travel by train after a day or two are facing problems as all trains are now cancelled and they have nowhere to go,” the ministry said.
“The Railway Board has decided that in all such cases the stay may be extended in supersession of the rule that limits the number of days a passenger can stay in a retiring room,” it said.
Daily wage laborers, who live on a day-to-day income were worst hit by the lockdown. They did not have a permanent place to stay in the city and when they decided to make their way home back to their villages, they were left stranded amid a lockdown.
On Sunday, the Centre instructed all passenger train services to be suspended across the country till March 31 to encourage more people to stay at home, which is the only way of containing the spread and flattening the curve.
The national capital has also suspended metro and public transport. Uber and Ola have followed suit and temporarily ceased their services. Only 25 per cent of public transport will be operational in Delhi for people who work in essential sectors.