New Delhi: Days after suspending passenger train services in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak, Indian Railways said on Tuesday that it is operating only freight trains to facilitate the uninterrupted supply of essential commodities. “Indian Railways is making all efforts to ensure availability of essential commodities through its uninterrupted freight services,” the Ministry of Railways said in a statement.
Because of lockdown in various states to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Indian Railways staff deployed at various good sheds, stations, and control offices are working on a 24×7 basis to ensure that the supply of essential items for the nation does not get affected, the Railways said.
Coronavirus: Railways loads rakes with essential commodities to maintain supply
On March 23, a total of 474 rakes were loaded with essential commodities like food grains, salt, edible oil, sugar, milk, fruits and vegetables, onion, coal and petroleum products. During the day, a total of 891 rakes were loaded by the Indian Railways, which also include other important commodities like 121 rakes of iron ore, 48 rakes of steel, 25 rakes of cement, 28 rakes of fertilizer, 106 rakes of container etc.
Close coordination is being maintained by the Railways with the state governments so that rakes of essential commodities are handled smoothly without any delay, amidst various restrictions imposed in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak.
Concessions offered by Railways
Indian Railways has slashed the demurrage and wharfage rates for goods and parcel at half of the prescribed rates till March 31. The validity of rate policies pertaining to goods/container traffic has also been extended by one month up to April 30. No haulage charge shall be levied for the movement of empty containers/empty flat wagons from March 24 to April 30.
Free time for loading/unloading of wagons and for removal of consignment from railway premises has been increased to double of the prescribed free time till March 31. To monitor the uninterrupted movement of essential commodities over the Indian Railways system, emergency freight control is working in the Ministry of Railways. Freight movement is being closely monitored by officials at a very senior level.