Earlier this week, Indian Railways suspended the operations of passenger trains across India till 31 March to fight the threat and spread of Covid-19. It is running its operations of freight trains.
Indian Railways has said that it is working round the clock for supply of essential commodities across the country during the lockdown. A statement issued by Press Information Bureau (PIB) has said that Indian Railways staff are deployed at good sheds during the lockdown.
The statement says:
Indian Railways understands its crucial role during this difficult time and requests all the stakeholders to fully support in ensuring faster loading and unloading of essential supplies.
The goods are being loaded at railway terminals. Efforts are being made to ensure uninterrupted services. For this, the Indian Railways staff is working 24/7.
Coordination between the Railways and state governments has been established to ensure that essential commodities see a smooth flow amidst restriction in place owing to the spread of Covid-19. The statement mentions some steps taken towards smooth operations.
Some of them are: the slashing of demurrage and wharfage rates for goods and parcel at half of the prescribed rates till 31 March. Extending of validity of rate policies pertaining to goods/container traffic up to 30 April. No haulage charge on movement of empty containers/empty flat wagons from 30 April.
The statement adds:
“On 23rd March 2020, total 474 rakes were loaded for essential commodities like food grains, salt, edible oil, sugar, milk, fruits & vegetables, onion, coal and petroleum products. During the day, total 891 rakes were loaded by Indian Railways which also includes other important commodities like 121 rakes of Iron ore, 48 rakes of steel, 25 rakes of cement, 28 rakes of fertiliser, 106 rakes of container etc (sic).”
Then, an emergency freight control is in place in the Ministry of Railways and freight movement is under the watch of senior officials.