Dated: December 23, 2020
Sub: Resumption of Regular Trains Services – Reg.
Running of Regular Passenger Trains was stopped in the name of nation-wide lockdown. Goods/Freight Trains were, however, run even during the lockdown. Also, Special Trains, to carry migrant labourers, were run during the lockdown period.
As can be appreciated, both the above type of trains are cash-cows for the Railways. Special Trains, run for the migrant labourers, were paid for by the respective State Governments that have booked the trains. As far as Freight Trains are concerned, it would suffice to state that, current year’s loading by the Indian Railways has increased manifold. As against the quick buck being made by the Railways, by running Freight Trains, Passenger Trains are consciously not being run to reduce the losses that are incurred in running Passenger Trains. Even when all other modes of transport are restored and all the inter-state restrictions are removed on movement of the people and materials; it is beyond comprehension, as to why Passenger Train Services are not restored by the Indian Railways. As this Federation(AIRF) understands the issue, the idea of the Railway Board seems to be:-
(a) To prepare travelling public to get used to pay higher charges, so that, there will be less/no resistance as and when Passenger Services are privatized.
(b) To portray the Railways as an inconsequential mode of transport, so that, it can be branded as an inefficient entity and can eventually be sold-off/privatized.
The situation, as it obtains today, people have already started to forget that the Indian Railways have ever existed and have started to move to alternate modes of transport, which is going to endanger the very existence of the Indian Railways as an organization, and there cannot be two opinions that, this act of Government is well-thought out and deliberate.
Also, there is no plausible explanation not to run Regular Train Services when the same services are being run under a different lable of Daily Specials/Festival Specials. When the atmosphere is conducive to run Special Trains, it is equally conducive for running of Regular Trains too. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Covid-19 virus can differentiate between a Regular Train and a Special Train, and will infect only those travelling in a Regular Passenger Train.
In view of the foregoing, you are requested to take appropriate action for restoration of Regular Passenger Train Services with immediate effect.
An early action in the matter shall be highly appreciated.
(Shiva Gopal Mishra)