23-pairs of passenger trains suspended in Bihar due to poor occupancy
The Eastern Central Railway (ECR) announced suspension of 23 pairs of inter-Bihar passenger trains apart from a few bound to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The suspension, effective Friday, was due to a drastic drop in occupancy amid the second wave of Covid-19, which is sweeping the state along with the rest of the country.
“Movement of 23 pairs of special passenger trains for short distances will stand cancelled since April 29 till further date owing to poor occupancy and with a view to curb the spread of Covid,” said chief public relations officer (CPRO), ECR, Rajesh Kumar. He said no decision had been taken to suspend the movement of long-distances express trains, however, factors, such as the number of reservations, were being monitored and the long-distance special trains may be regulated in future if passenger traffic remains low.
“Trains passing through Bihar are low on occupancy. Still, they are being run for the convenience of the people,” said a railway officer.
Passenger train services from Patna to Gaya, Mugalsarai, Muzaffarpur, Barauni, Rajgir, Bhabua are among those suspended apart from some services from Muzaffapur to Narkatia, Raxaul and Samastipur.
Oxygen Express not to deliver oxygen to Bihar
The Central Eastern Railway (CER) chief public relations officer (CPRO) clarified that no Oxygen Express was presently scheduled to deliver the precious gas to Bihar. The railways have been running this facility to deliver liquefied oxygen to states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where hospitals are suffering a critical shortage of medical oxygen leading to deaths of Covid patients.
Hospitals in Bihar are also grappling with the shortage of oxygen supply with the administration trying to revive defunct refilling plants and enhance capacity of existing oxygen generation plants with the refilling centres across the state.
On April 20, state health minister Mangal Pandey had claimed the crisis will be over once the Oxygen Express became operational. He was not available to comment on the current situation in the state.
Covid fund to help infected railway employees
The ECR set up a Covid fund to help infected employees. Public relations officer (PRO) Rajesh Kumar said 3,884 employees had turned positive and 50 persons had succumbed to the disease in the last one year. As many as 1,891 employees of the zonal railways were still under treatment, he added. ECR is trying to set up Covid control helpline centres at all divisions of the zone, he said.
Alarming rise in Covid infections continue
12,604 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in Bihar on Tuesday, increasing the virus caseload to 428,001, with capital Patna being worst-hit, a health department bulletin said. The state saw 85 fresh casualties, taking the death toll to 2,307. Among the new cases, Patna’s share was maximum 1,837, while Bhagalpur reported 654 cases, Aurangabad reported 622 and Begusarai- 611 infections. Chief minister Nitish Kumar held a high-level meeting to review the Covid situation for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.