Railway Board tells Odisha to consult Home Ministry for cancellation trains from Chhattisgarh

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 9 (PTI) The Railway Board Friday suggested to the Odisha government to take up the issue relating to its demand to cancel all passenger trains from Chhattisgarh to the state, with the Ministry of Home Affairs, official sources said.

While replying to a letter of Odisha Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra seeking cancellation of all passenger trains from Chhattisgarh to the state, Railway Board chairman Suneet Sharma wrote: 'You may seek necessary guidance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.' Sharma in the letter mentioned that as far as the movement restriction is concerned, Railway operations have been allowed throughout the country as per the Home Ministry guidelines dated March 23, 2021 duly complying with SOPs.

However, Sharma, informed the Odisha government that the Railway Board will notify the passengers regarding the conditions in Odisha as brought out in the Odisha Chief Secretary's April 8 letter, by way of frequent announcements and messages to the travelling passengers.

'You are requested to please make adequate arrangements at the railway stations in Odisha for checking the passengers, as necessary,' Sharma wrote.

Earlier on April 8, Odisha Chief Secretary S C Mohapatra in a letter to Railway Board had requested to cancel all passenger trains coming from Chhattisgarh to Odisha from April 10 until further advice.

Mahapatra in a letter to the Railway Board has also stated that passenger trains including local and mail/express, coming from Chhattisgarh to Odisha may be cancelled from Saturday.

The Odisha chief secretary had also stated that the railways must ensure that all passengers travelling to Odisha, from anywhere by train, must have an RT-PCR negative test report of maximum 72 hours before the start of journey or a second dose vaccination certificate.

Though the coronavirus situation is not alarming in Odisha, the chief secretary said the cross border movements of people are impacting COVID situation adversely in almost all the border districts of Odisha.

Odisha government maintained that there has been spike in cases in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh and others.

Meanwhile, the East Coast Railways in a press release said: 'All Odisha bound passengers from anywhere in the country, who are boarding, with effect from April 10 must have an RT-PCR Negative Test Report of maximum 72 hours before the start of journey or a second dose vaccination certificate.' Those without valid documents will have to undergo seven days mandatory home/institutional quarantine, it said.

Stating that the resurgence of COVID-19 has occurred in some places of Odisha, the ECoR said in order to restrict the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent adverse impact of cross border movement and in coordination with Odisha government, it has been decided to impose these restrictions on passengers.