After more than two months Indian Railways resumed its operations in Karnataka with 200 special trains. South Western Railway allowed trains from Howrah, Shivamogga Town, Hazrat Nizamuddin (New Delhi), Hubbali Junction, Danapur (Bihar), CSMT, Belagavi, and Mysore to enter the main stations in Karnataka. 12 non-shramik trains left from the state while 11 will make their way out this night.
In what is supposedly a special honour to corona warriors, the first train, Bengaluru--Hubbali Janshatabdi, was flagged off by cleaning staff S. Indra and pointsman Vithal Patil at the KSR Bengaluru station.
Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) ticket holders will be allowed to board the train and will be accommodated in the vacant berths. However, wait-listed ticket holders will not be allowed. In cases of medical emergency if passengers are in the wait list they can for Emergency Quota in the divisional office.
Passengers are advised to bring food from home. Only packed /ready-to-eat meals will be available in trains as cooked meals won't be provided/served in pantries/vendors in trains. However, at stations en route stations wherever IRCTC has base kitchens, cooked meals will be sold.
The special train from Bengaluru to Danapur will not halt at Chennai.
Keeping in mind the surge in number of cases from Maharashtra the state has mandated seven day institutional quarantine even for asymptomatic travellers followed by seven days of home quarantine. The travellers from other states will undergo 14 days of home quarantine. However, all passengers from Maharashtra who come with Covid negative test from an ICMR approved lab which is not old than two days will be exempted from seven days of institutional quarantine but will have to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.
Since there has been a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in Karnataka due to passengers coming from other states, especially Maharashtra, one of the senior railway officials stated that in order to ward off the risk that may come from Maharashtra that has highest the Covid-19 cases, 'the travellers whose homes are in slums or in overcrowded areas will have to undergo institutional quarantine.'
"While facilitating the smooth travel we have requested the passengers to reach the station at-least 90 minutes in advance so that they can undergo thermal screening. We have allowed only asymptomatic passengers to board the train," the official said.
While the Shramik trains for the migrants will continue to run the railways has appealed to the passengers with have pre-exisiting medical conditions like hypertension, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer and pregnant women, children below 10 years of age, to avoid travel by rail, except when it is essential. SWR has ran 169 shramik special trains so far facilitating more than 2 lakh passengers to reach their home.
In order to prevent the spread of disease among the railway staff who are helping the guest workers travelling by Shramik trains the SWR has started distributing immunity boosting kits that contain remedies for clearing nasal congestion.