Former Union finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday welcomed Centre's move to start operating some interstate passenger trains from May 12 amid the coronavirus lockdown.
"The same modest opening should be started with road transport and air transport," Chidambaram said in a tweet.
He said that opening road, rail and air services for passengers and goods is the only way to commence economic and commercial activity in the country.
"We welcome the decision of the government to cautiously start operations of inter state passenger trains," Chidambaram's tweet read.
The Central government on Sunday announced that 15 interstate passenger trains will commence operations from May 12 after the services were halted in March due to the enforcement of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
"Indian Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020, initially with 15 pairs of trains. These trains will be run as special trains from New Delhi Station connecting 15 important cities of the country," the railways ministry announced in a tweet on Sunday.
The trains will operate from New Delhi connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.
The process of ticket reservation for passengers will begin at 4pm today via online booking service provided on the IRCTC website. Passengers will be required to wear masks and observe all social distancing and precautionary measures during their journey. They will be screened by the authorities at the station and only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed.
The resumption of passenger trains will help those who have been stranded. This is also for those who need to get back to work and have been stuck since the lockdown, officials said.
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