Indian railways on Sunday said it has resumed parcel trains for nationwide transportation of essential commodities and other goods required to meet the needs of citizens, amid a 21-day lockdown in the country.
"In order to fill in this vital need, Indian Railways has made railway parcel vans available for quick mass transportation across the nation for the needy e-commerce entities and other customers including state governments to transport such goods," an official statement said.
As many as eight parcel specials trains are being run since March 22. More such trains are being planned across 20 routes.
"The decision to run special parcel trains will help in movement of small quantities as well of essential items -- dairy products, medical equipments and medicines, groceries, edible oil and other necessary items etc," it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, beginning March 25 to contain the spread of cornonavirus. While the government sealed state borders and banned all public and private transport, it allowed movement of goods and commodities in the country during the lockdown period.
Indian Railways has been transporting essential commodities through freight trains, which meets the needs of bulk transportation. However, there are various items that need to be delivered in smaller quantities.
After airlines, railways is the fastest mode of inter state transportation for such goods, it said.
"The services will be run as per extant rules and on payment of parcel/freight charges," the statement said.