Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, India had gone into an unprecedented lockdown in mid-2020. Companies worked from home and public spaces were shut, and the transit system came to a grinding halt. For several weeks, Indian Railways did not run passenger trains and only emergency flights took off.
Now, a year later, it would seem that many are convinced about history repeating itself. As India sees a resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases, several social media post claiming that trains have been halted has gone viral.
Claim: All trains have been canceled till 31st March
The viral image appears to be a TV news screengrab that appears to indicate that Indian Railways has cancelled all passenger trains till March 31, 2021. The image has been published on both Facebook and Twitter and shared widely via other platforms.
Facts: This update is from March 2020. Indian Railways has taken no such decision in 2021
When India went into lockdown at the end of March 2020, passenger trains had indeed been halted. As such while the post is not wholly incorrect, it is being utilised in a misleading manner. There is no new restriction that is being imposed on rail travel in March 2021 and the claim has been countered by multiple sources including the Indian government.
Following the flurry of concerned reactions, the PIB has released a fact check of their own, reiterating that there is no cancellation of passenger trains till March 31, 2021.
Verdict: False, misleading claim
The claim is misleading and incorrect. No, trains are not being cancelled till the end of this month. Since the 2020 lockdown, all modes of transportation have gradually resumed services. And while social distancing norms and other related restrictions remain, one can certainly book a train ticket at this time.