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Indian Railways: Passenger train services expected to resume from April

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February 14: Suspended for quite a long time given the Covid situation, the passenger train services are expected to resume from 1st of April, 2021, that is more than after a year of staying shut. Following the Centre’s national lockdown rules, the Indian railway services were forced to shut in March 2020 enraged by the pandemic.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal earlier this month said that the normal train services will be decided upon the consultation with the other stakeholders after monitoring the infection situation in the country. The minister also claimed that even if the vaccination drive has begun in full swing, there is still a strict need for adherence towards preventions and precautions.

A railway spokesperson quoted as saying to news platform Financial Express that for the given time, there is no particular pre-decided date. He said that the decision in this regard will be taken after considering all the factors and inputs by the stakeholders before making it public.

Also read: IRCTC to run 4 special pilgrim trains from Rajkot to Gujarat in Feb, March

More than 65% of trains are currently operational across the country as the railways have been increasing the number with time since last few months. In January 2021, more than 150 were added and gradually, more of these trains will be added.

This decision will cover all train types like Rajdhani, general, and Shatabdi. Along with this, almost all metro trains and suburban trains till now have come back on track which has facilitated the travel of the citizens across states. With the resumption of trains, travel will become much easier.

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As covid surges, Delhi makes mandatory -ve test report for visitors of these 5 states

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February 27: As the Covid-19 virus is surging in a few states including Kerala and Maharashtra, the Indian capital state Delhi has taken a decision on presenting a mandatory negative Covid test report for the people travelling from 5 states before entering the UT. As per the official sources of the Delhi government, these orders will remain in place from midnight of 26 February to noon of March 15.

The submitted RT-PCR test report must not be older than 72 hours of travel. These five states are Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Also, these orders are applicable to people who are travelling to Delhi via buses, flights, or trains.

Not only Delhi, but several other states have also made it a case for the visitors to furnish a negative RT-PCR test report if they are travelling from states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh.

Also read: With expectedly increasing domestic air traffic, government to ‘likely’ remove fare band

ANI reports quoting the sources, “Delhi government took the decision because, in the past week, 86 per cent of the new virus cases have emerged from these states. Nodal officers in these states will be asked to verify COVID-19 negative reports from tests taken up to 72 hours before the flight, prior to allowing passengers to leave for Delhi.”

This step was taken as Delhi recorded 220 Covid-19 cases earlier on Thursday that was the highest number of single-day spikes in February, luckily, no death was registered. This was 4th time in February month when the single-day death toll stood nil this month.

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Air Arabia, SpiceJet can add more routes from RAK Intl. airport to other Indian states

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February 26: Emirati low-cost airline, Air Arabia is planning to add up more routes and flights exchange with Indian carrier Spicejet from the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport.

As of now, the passengers travelling from RAK International airport to Delhi via Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet are able to fly to several destinations using the domestic services of the airline. The destinations are limited to some states like Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur and Kozhikode.

Other than these, the carrier also operates direct flights between UAE and as many as 7 India cities. However, the airline plans to add more in order to improve the connectivity further.

Also read: With expectedly increasing domestic air traffic, government to ‘likely’ remove fare band

As it was expected that the flight resumption would help boost connectivity, the airport resumed its flight exchange in October last in an attempt for the emirate to position itself as a major tourist hub within the United Arab Emirates.

Sharing his take over the plan in the pipeline, Sanjay Khanna, serving as CEO of RAK International Airport quoted, “We expect even more Indian destinations to be added to SpiceJet’s direct service from Ras Al Khaimah within the coming months and years. With these additions from the various carriers, we fully anticipate reaching our pre-COVID-19 level passenger throughput by the end of 2021.”

The behind such tilt towards India is simplistic. India is represented as one of the largest aviation markets in the UAE. Numerically to explain this, in 2020 when high tensions were triggered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 4 million passengers had flown from Dubai tppo several Indian cities. Explaining the situation, Khanna added, “At present, India represents our largest market for travellers and RAK Airport aims to enhance the links between nearly 3.5 million Indian nationals living in the UAE.”

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With expectedly increasing domestic air traffic, government to ‘likely’ remove fare band

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February 25: As expectations of improved domestic air traffic are increasing ahead of the summer season, the government ‘might’ remove the fare bands beside lifting other travel restrictions. This information was laid by Civil Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri. He talked about the same while replying to the queries during the meeting of his ministry’s consultative committee earlier on Thursday.

After this, an official statement on Friday quoted that domestic air traffic is increasing day by day and has now reached a count of 3 lakh passengers in a single day. The statement also said that Puri has also talked about several steps that the ministry has been taking during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to benefit the citizens, their travel along the aviation sector while explaining his take to the Members of Parliament.

Bestowing information about the UDAN scheme, the minister also mentioned that over 300 routes have been operationalised under the scheme making travel more convenient. The committee members discussed suggestions for the privatisation of airports, opening new airports, expanding existing airports among other aviation issues.

Also read: With covid variants arriving India, India introduces new travel guidelines for intl. travellers

Further, the statement added, “He informed about the fare bands introduced with a floor price and ceiling price. He further said that in the summer schedule, as domestic traffic would increase more, the fare bands and some other restrictions are likely to be done away with.”

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