The Indian Railways on Friday announced that the period from March 22 till April 14 will be treated under force majeure due to the crisis arising from the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. During this period no demurrage, wharfage, stacking, stabling, detention and ground usage charge shall be leviable.
In a statement, it said, “Ministry of Finance cited that force majeure means extraordinary events or circumstance beyond human control such as an event described as an Act of God (like natural calamity) and has clarified that spread of coronavirus should be considered as a case of natural calamity and Force Majeure Clause may be invoked.”
It added, “The competent authority has decided that the period from 22.03.2020 to 14.04.2020 shall be treated under force majeure and none of the following mentioned charges shall arise for this period–demurrage, wharfage, stacking, stabling, demurrage in case of privately/jointly owned stock, demurrage on parcel traffic, wharfage on parcel traffic, detention charge in case of container traffic and ground usage charge in case of container traffic.”
Amid the suspension of passenger, mail and express trains during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, the Indian Railways has ferried essential items in over one lakh wagons in the last four days.
“Railways is the lifeline to the nation. During the last four days, working 24/7, we have loaded more than one lakh wagons with essential supplies like foodgrain, coal, petroleum products, edible oil, onions, fruits and vegetables, sugar, salt, milk etc,” the Railway Ministry said in a tweet.
A senior ministry official said essential staff like loco pilots, station masters, controllers, goods clerks, and maintenance staff like trackmen etc have been deployed at various goods sheds, stations, control offices 24X7 basis to ensure smooth transportation of essential items.
The staff on duty provided with masks and sanitisers have been advised social distancing. S.C. Jain, DRM Delhi, said that all workplaces at stations, locomotives, offices etc in Delhi Division are being sanitised and staff advised to follow necessary safety precautions.
In the wake of the coronavirus scare across the country, the railways have started the production of sanitizers, medical cots, IV stands, and masks at its production units.