Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Railway stations in the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar wore a deserted look as passengers drastically cut down their travel due to Coronavirus outbreak resulting in mass cancellation of train tickets.

With the government working closely with agencies to ensure social distancing, dependence on public transportation, where chances of spreading of infection are very high, have gone down significantly.

Also Read: Coronavirus Scare: Central Railway Cancels 23 Long-Distance Trains

The usual bustle of the railway stations in both Cuttack and Bhubaneswar has been replaced by an eerie expanse of empty tracks, platforms & closed shops. Though the congregation of crowd is being seen mainly at the reservation counters, it is not for booking tickets, but cancellation of already-booked tickets.

Shivasis Sethi, who had come to the Cuttack Railway Station to cancel his ticket said, “We don’t know who might be carrying the Coronavirus infection. It’s better to stay safe indoors than to risk getting infected by travelling in the train.”

As per reports, a total of 3,247 reserved tickets have been cancelled in the last four days at Cuttack Railway Station alone. Similarly, a whopping one lakh reserved tickets have been cancelled under the East Coast Railway (ECoR) jurisdiction in the last six days, taking the all India figure of train ticket cancellations to 80%.

Sources said that EcoR has cancelled five special trains keeping in view the mass cancellation of tickets by passengers.

As far as air traffic is concerned, there haven’t been any substantial cancellations from Odisha besides in case of the Bubaneswar-Kualalumpur flight, which has been cancelled till April 15, 2020.

Also Read: IRCTC Alert For Passengers On Train Tickets Refund Rules In 2020

B.V Rao, the Director of Biju Patnaik International Airport said, “We have just got the confirmation that AirAsia will not be operating one of its four flights from Bhubaneswar. We will know more about their plans after April 15.”  

One of the most widely used means of surface transports, the public buses in the state have also been put under strict vigil. All the private bus operators and government-run buses have been asked to follow proper disinfection procedures. Moreover, the state transport department has asked operators to strictly avoid overloading.