With the Covid -19 containment restrictions in force in Tamil Nadu from 4 a.m. on Thursday, the Southern Railway has put a cap on the travel of general public including students through the suburban train services.
The travel is now restricted only to frontline workers and to those employed in the essential services sector. Both the frontline workers and those working in essential services sectors will be allowed to board the train after showing the identity cards.
The restrictions are in force till May 20, a communique from the Southern Railway said. The restrictions will create difficulties to commuters who are working in the private sector and government sector as the suburban rail has been a major mode of transport for the people of Chennai.
Mariappan, an employee with a private company at Nungambakkam while speaking to IANS said, "Suburban train has been my mode of travel since past several years. I am not a frontline worker nor in essential services, but I am in a private company and if the suburban train services are not allowing people like us to travel, then it's difficult to commute."
The railway has restricted the category of people to use train services as the state government has insisted that trains and buses can be run only with 50 per cent occupancy.
The state has already imposed several other restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.
From May 6 to May 20, vegetable and provision shops located in commercial complexes have been ordered to remain closed. Even standalone shop can remain open till noon with 50 per cent customers. All other shops meanwhile are barred from opening. State run liquor shops too have to remain open only between 8am and 12 noon everyday.
Restaurants meanwhile can only sell takeaway while tea shops can remain open till noon.