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Latest News: Trains & Flights Likely to Start from 15 April amid Covid-19 Lockdown

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

At a time when the entire world is fighting against the covid-19 outbreak, our government is giving special attention to ensure that the supply chains of essential goods are maintained. It is making sure that the farm produce is transported without hindrance within the country.

Interestingly, since 23 March, the Railways has transported around 6.75 lakh wagons of commodities of which 4.50 lakh wagons of essential commodities such as foodgrains, salt, sugar, edible oil, coal & petroleum products.

The confusion over extending the 21-day lockdown or not, is supposed to end on April 14. This, however, is also creating confusion among railways and aviation policymakers.

Will flights start from 15 April?

According to the, officials in the civil aviation ministry, while there was little chance that air transport would be allowed to resume on April 15. Lack of an official circular kept the commercial departments of airlines in a tizzy. As a result, all airlines except Air India are still selling tickets for flights from April 15.

An airline executive said, “The government should be more proactive regarding these decisions. If we don’t book tickets anticipating a ban we will lose out on revenue. If we sell & then have to cancel flights, we will face passenger ire. Bureaucrats should have some sensitivity to how businesses are done.”

With airlines having decided to provide no refund on tickets for cancelled flights, lack of an official decision means that passengers who had booked tickets will be kept wondering about whether they will fly.

Will railways start from 15 April?

As per the Indian Railways, no decision, so far has been taken to start passenger services again. However, it resumed ticket booking for journeys from April 15.

From April 1 - 11 this year, 670,295 tickets were booked, down 93.5% from more than 1.03 million during the same time last year. Even with the uncertainty, 45% of these tickets were booked in the last seven days. Though the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) had cancelled two Tejas trains & the Kashi Mahakal Express till April 30, operated by the company, bookings for the other trains were in process.

A senior railways official said, “We have not lined up any concrete plans so far on resuming passenger services.”

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