Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: Amid the coronavirus crisis, the Indian Railways catering arm IRCTC on Friday said that food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens and the on board catering services in mail and express trains will remain closed until further notice.

The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) in a circular said that the decision has been taken as a precaution to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The circular said the instructions will come into force from March 22.

The IRCTC said, "Food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens should be closed until further notice."

"The on-board catering services in mail and express trains and TSV trains should be closed until further notice," it said, adding the static units supplying meals to the prepaid trains which are in operation may continue to operate.

Read: Coronavirus Effect: Railways Cancels 168 Trains

The circular further said that if there is demand for onboard services, then only PAD items, tea and coffee may be allowed to be sold in the train.

"Such operation should be conducted using the minimum number of staff," it said, adding that the licensee should be requested to take care of their catering staff on humanitarian ground during this period of closure.

As a precautionary measure, the railways has so far cancelled 245 pairs of trains across the country and also decided to cancel the passenger train services on Sunday during the 'Janata Curfew'. On Sunday, even long distance trains originating after 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. will remain cancelled.

In the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a 'janata curfew' on Sunday amid the novel coronavirus scare, the Indian Railways said on Friday that all passenger trains will remain cancelled during the period.

All long-distance mail or express and intercity trains originating between 4 am and 10 pm on March 22 will also remain cancelled.

A circular addressed to all zonal railways said: "Keeping in view the fact that the demand for rail travel will be vastly reduced during the janata curfew between 7 am and 9 pm on Sunday, zonal railways are hereby advised to regulate services. All passenger trains originating between March 21-22 midnight to 10 pm on March 22 shall not run. However, passenger train already on the go at 7 am on that day will be allowed to reach their destinations."

The decision was taken by the Railway Board after a meeting with General Managers of zonal railways to contain the spread of novel coronavirus in India.

(With Agency Inputs)

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: No Passenger Trains To Ply During ‘Janata Curfew’ On Mar 22