The festive season is set to kick in from October 17, with the start of Navratri, and will go on till mid-November when people will mark Diwali. As is always the case, thousands of people across India plan to travel to their native towns to be with their families on these occasions and the most preferred way to commute is through railways.
However, since the COVID-19 pandemic remains at large a threat, railway authorities have issued guidelines for travellers. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has asked commuters to desist from the following acts or omission while being at railway stations, in trains, or other railway areas:
Observing that such acts or omissions are likely to aid in the spread of COVID-19, authorities have said any violation of rules will tantamount to interference with passenger amenities provided by the railway administration.
Wilful omission or neglect endangering or causing to be endangered the safety of any person or rash and negligent act or omission likely to endanger the safety of any person travelling or being upon any railway and may be punished with imprisonment and/or fine under section 145, 153 and 154 of Railway Act 1989, the Railway Ministry has said.
On October 13, the Railways announced that it will operate 392 festival special trains between October 20 and November 30 in view of the upcoming festive season. The decision was taken as the national carrier is anticipating a passenger rush during the upcoming festive season, the Ministry said in a statement.
The special trains will be run for destinations such as Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow among others to cater to the growing demand in the ensuing holiday period of Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, and Chhatt puja, it said.
Till now, the railways have pressed into service more than 300 mail/express trains which are now running regularly across the country. The Railways has otherwise suspended all its regular services due to the coronavirus pandemic and is operating trains as per demand and necessity.