As the Indian Railways began its services post lockdown by making several passenger trains operational, chaos was witnessed at New Delhi railway station on Wednesday morning. Indian Railways began its services on May 12 after a long halt. Trains services were stopped across the nation after the lockdown was put in place to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
As trains bound for New Delhi reached the national capital earlier today, a sea of people poured out on the streets in the area around the railway station compromising the social distancing norms. Where several were seen waiting for their cars, many were found haggling with the officials deployed on duty at spot owing to the absence of public transport.
Left stranded as public transport are not functional in Delhi, many who could not arrange for a private vehicle were seen struggling for convivence. Sharing their travel experience with the Republic TV, people said that arrangements inside the trains were satisfactory. However, they complained about the lack of public transport in the national capital.
"Everything was taken care of; we were provided with sanitizers and were made to go through a thorough medical checkup. Social distancing was also maintained. The washrooms were also very clean," said a passenger who had arrived from Mumbai.
Echoing similar sentiments, another person said, "I am impressed by the way the railways handled everything in this hour of crisis."
The Indian Railways resumed passenger train operations from Tuesday, nearly two months after services were stopped due to the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The railways opened bookings for passenger services on Monday with 15 trains a day plying on the route connecting Delhi to Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and amongst other cities.
The Indian Railways also issued an 11-point travel advisory for passengers stating that passengers will have to reach railway stations 90 minutes ahead of train departure. Notably, Railways also issued a list of guidelines, precautions, protocols that are to be followed for the special passenger train services that commenced services yesterday.
A total of 15 special passenger train services (30 including return journeys) will be operated. These trains will depart from the New Delhi railway station to various parts of the country including Ahmedabad, Bilaspur, Jammu Tawi, Chennai, Patna, Secunderabad, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai Central, Bengaluru, Dibrugarh, Madgaon, Howrah, Thiruvananthapuram, Agartala.