Cyclone Fani: 89 trains cancelled, 3 specials put in service to evacuate tourists

Local transporters are to be contracted for hiring of road vehicles for meeting exigencies as and where necessary.

New Delhi: The Railways on Thursday said around 89 trains have been cancelled in the last two days in view of the 'extremely severe' cyclonic storm 'Fani', which is likely to affect Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, while three special trains have been put into service to ferry stranded passengers from affected areas.

The national transporter said it will grant a full refund to passengers for the cancelled or diverted trains if tickets are produced for cancellation within three days from the scheduled date of journey. The Railways had cancelled 81 trains on Wednesday.

The trains which have been cancelled include Howrah-Chennai Central Coromandal Express, Patna-Ernakulam Express, New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Hyderabad East Coast Express, Bhubaneswar-Rameswaram Express.

The New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, New Delhi-Puri Nandan Kanan Express, Puri-New Delhi Purushottam Express and the New Delhi-Puri Purushottam Express which had to begin their journeys on Thursday have been cancelled.

Also read: Cyclone 'Fani' now 'extremely severe storm', Odisha on alert; poll code lifted

The railways have also issued directions to the divisional managers of all zones that frequent announcements are to be made at important stations for sensitising passengers about the cancellations, short termination and diversion of coaching trains in both directions of the Bhadrak (Odisha)-Visakhapatnam section.

So far, the national transporter has announced three tourist special trains to ferry passengers from affected areas. A special train has started from Puri at 12 noon, going towards Shalimar in Kolkata.

It has reserved as well as unreserved accommodation. It will stop at Khurda Road, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jajpur, Kendujhar Road, Bhadrak, Baleswar and Kharagpur. The other two special trains will ferry passengers from Puri to Howrah.

Read: Eastern Naval Command all geared up for cyclone 'Fani'

Earlier on Wednesday, railways had issued instructions that dry food items, 'janata khana' and water bottles in sufficient quantity were to be made available at catering stalls of all major stations.

Due to the disruption of train services, the situation may warrant transhipment of passengers. Local transporters are to be contracted for the hiring of road vehicles for meeting exigencies as and where necessary.

The railways have also said that a sufficient amount of cash must be available at major stations for granting refunds to passengers and meeting other exigencies. Frontline staff are to be advised to be extremely polite while dealing with passengers and leaving no scope for complaint, it said.

Read: PM Modi warns officials as cyclone Fani likely to intensify into cyclonic storm

"Emergency control is operated round the clock with a helpline number for guiding passengers. No staff are to be allowed to go on leave for the next three days," the railways said.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country's top body to handle an emergency situation, on Wednesday reviewed the preparedness for Cyclone 'Fani', which is likely to hit south of Puri in Odisha on Friday, a home ministry official said.

Read: PM holds meeting with top officials to review preparations for Cyclone Fani

Around 900 cyclone shelters have been made ready to house evacuees while troops of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and 78 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been requisitioned for deployment.

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