Express, Passenger and Suburban Train Services in all over India have been stopped till 31st March, 2020. While the fact is all passenger carrying trains have been brought to a halt in the wake of the fight against spread of Covid-19 Corona Virus, Freight train services are being run to transport essential commodities for meeting the needs of the Nation, 24×7 by Indian Railways.
South Western Railway has been in the forefront of this endeavor and in last 3-days period of stoppage of passenger carrying train services, the zone has run over sufficient freight carrying trains every day between 22nd to 24th March,2020 and the operations will continue. Commodities principally being transported by the zone include coal to various Thermal plants to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the region, petroleum products to meet the need of the industry and other users, food grains, milk etc. to meet basic needs of the people during this emergent period.
This has been possible on account of the commitment and duty mindset of the workforce of SWR deployed at various Goods sheds, stations and control offices besides on field duties. The staffs are involved in planning and handling rail operations, maintenance of Rolling stock, Signal & Telecommunication network, Electrical equipment, security needs and most importantly in the vital safety aspect of track maintenance. On the sidelines, continuous cleaning activity and sterilization of passenger coaches, railway stations and other premises is also being undertaken by SWR.
Close coordination is being made with the state governments so that rates of essential commodities are handled smoothly without delay, amidst various restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19. Indian Railways has slashed the demurrage and wharf age rates for goods and parcels at half of the prescribed rates till 31st March 2020. Free time for loading/unloading of wagons and free time for removal of consignment from Railway premises has also been relaxed till 31st March 2020.
Shri Ajay Kumar Singh, GM/SWR said that in the challenging circumstances too Railway operations are continuing to ensure that food grains are supplied to FCI depots and coal is made available at NTPC plants for the production of electricity etc.
Minimum Essential staffs are working round the clock, fully taking all precautions against Covid-19. Divisional Railway Managers of Bengaluru, Mysuru and Hubballi are also personally monitoring the loading, unloading of commodities and ensure freight train operations as per need during this time of need. DRMs are also in constant touch with District Commissioners and extending all help required. Today also rice rakes at Hubballi, Whitefield, Nanjagud & Bagalkot and Potato rake at Hassan were unloaded. He said that SWR team is continuously preparing to respond to emergencies.