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Trains, Flights suspended May 3 as PM Modi announces extension of nationwide lockdown

All trains and domestic as well as international flights will remain suspended till May 3 as the nationwide lockdown continues amidst Chinese coronavirus outbreak.

On April 14, the Ministry of Railways informed that all premium, Suburban Express, and passenger trains of the Indian Railways will remain non-operational until May 3, 2020. The update came after Prime Minister’s address to nation informing about the extension.

The Railways Ministry has informed that the passengers need to cancel their bookings and that the cancellation will be taken care of by the IRCTC. Further, the refund of the cancelled tickets shall also be credited to the accounts.

Even before the nationwide lockdown, a notification was issued by the Indian Railways cancelling all trains till March 31, starting from March 22 midnight. Bare minimum numbers of suburban trains and Kolkata metro operated till midnight on 22nd March. That included suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Secunderabad, along with Kolkata Metro.

The trains which had started their journey before 4 AM on 22nd March, ran up to their respective destinations. Railways made adequate arrangements for the passengers in such trains during the journey and also at their destination stations. The movement of good trains continued on the Indian Railway network, to maintain the availability of essential items across the country.

Suspension of Flight Operations

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had also issued a circular stating that all scheduled international passenger services would remain closed until May 3, 2020. The official notice, however, clarified that the travel restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus pandemic will not apply to international cargo operations and specific flight operations that are approved by the DGCA.

Official Circular issued by the DGCA

Earlier, an Air India official had informed earlier this month that advanced flight booking for both domestic and international air travel via the national carrier had been suspended until April 30. Another senior government official said that Air India would wait for the government’s decision until April 14 and bookings could begin on the same day if the lockdown was not extended

Extension of Nationwide Lockdown

PM Modi began his address by thanking the people of India for following the guidelines and helping in containing the pandemic. He added that while the lockdown has been expensive and an added burden on the economy, it is insignificant against the precious lives of the countrymen.

“Till 3rd May, everyone must stay home and maintain discipline. We must ensure that till 3rd May coronavirus does not spread to any new region which does not have any positive case. If more people test positive in local areas, then it is a cause of concern for us. Hence, we must be more careful regarding hotspots. Identified hotspots should be more careful and those areas which have a possibility of turning into hotspots should be more alert. Newer hotspots will be a challenge to our efforts,” PM Modi emphasised.

Following this, the Railways and Civil Aviation ministries have suspended trains and flights till May 3.

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