“No trains started from Howrah, Sealdah or other stations in the state on Sunday, but some that had left other stations before the start of the ‘janata curfew’, arrived during the day. Some special trains are also being run for migrant workers, some of which arrived on Sunday. The remaining will arrive subsequently. We shall run no suburban services. To avoid gatherings at booking counters and stations, cancellation rules have also been tweaked to allow for more time. Those whose trains have been cancelled will get a full refund,” a railway official said.
While freight trains will continue to operate, supply of some items, like fish and eggs, may be hit due to cancellation of passenger trains. Fish and eggs from the southern states come to Bengal in trucks, as well as in parcels in mail/express trains. People from the suburbs employed in the emergency sector are also facing uncertainty due to cancellation of local trains. The supply of vegetables and other food items to several locations are also likely to be affected. Railway officials have, however, maintained that the primary objective now is to prevent the spread of Covid-19, even if it leads to some difficulties.
“We will run a bare minimum number of buses for people engaged in essential services. We may follow the night-service model where hospitals, IT and ITES hubs will be connected. Normal bus services will be suspended,” a WBSTC official said.
The Bengal Taxi Association (BTA), the city’s largest association of taxi operators in Kolkata, will run a fleet of 1,000 vehicles on a demand basis. “People in an emergency can call us at 033-24753505, 033-24742249, 9339053605 or 9831364824. On Sunday, during the ‘janata curfew’, we ferried people to hospitals. During the lockdown, we will provide doorstep services to those in need,” a BTA official said.
App cab services are likely to remain cancelled during the lockdown, but some vehicles may be available for essential demand-based trips. Autos will also be off the streets at most places. Some that operate within localities may ply for emergency passengers.
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