New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) The Indian Railways on Wednesday cancelled 18 more trains as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, taking the total number of trains cancelled to 103. The 18 trains were cancelled by Northern Railways on Wednesday, a day after it cancelled five trains on Tuesday amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in India, which has affected 151 people across the country.

Northern Railway spokesperson Deepak Kumar said, “Eighteen trains have been cancelled due to low occupancy and operational reasons.”

On Tuesday, several zonal railways cancelled 85 trains citing low occupancy amid the coronavirus outbreak in several states. The Central Railway cancelled 23 trains, followed by South Central Railway cancelling 29 trains, Western Railways cancelling 10 trains, northern Railways five, North Western Railways four, East Coast Railways five and South Eastern Railways cancelling nine trains from March 18 to April 1.

The railways even increased the prices of the platform tickets at over 300 stations from Rs 10 to Rs 50 to stop crowding at the railway stations. He said the decision was taken in order to regulate unnecessary crowding at stations, as a temporary measure.

He said the railway board has directed all DRMs to raise platform ticket prices to Rs 50 at important stations that deal with large passengers or visitors rush.

He pointed out that in March 2015, the railways had delegated power to Divisional Railway Managers (DRMS) to increase the rate of platform tickets beyond Rs 10 to regulate rush at platforms during specific requirements under intimation of its office.

With 25 new cases of coronavirus infections reported on Wednesday, the number of COVID-19 patients in India climbed to 151, up from 126 a day earlier, the Health Ministry said.

–IANS

aks/kr

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