At PM’s meeting, TN CM shows red flag to train, air services

Amid a huge spike in Covid-19 positive cases in the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to begin regular air and train services to the state until May 31.

“I request you not to begin regular air services till May 31. We know from the press that regular train service to Chennai and from Chennai will commence on May 12. As the positive cases in Chennai are showing an increasing trend, don’t permit train service till May 31,” he said during a videoconference with Modi.

“I request you not to begin regular Air services till May 31,” Palaniswami told PM Modi. He said he knows from media that regular train service to Chennai (from Delhi) and from Chennai will commence from May 12. As the positive cases in Chennai are showing an increasing trend, it is not good at this time to allow train services to Tamil Nadu.

The chief minister is quoted to have told Modi, “I request you not to begin regular air services till 31.5.2020.”

Notably, Indian railways has announced the resumption of a limited number of passenger services after an almost a 50-day hiatus since the national lockdown came into force in March. As many as 15 trains are to run from Tuesday on the Rajdhani route from Delhi to all the major cities, including Chennai, in the country.

Modi on Monday chaired a fresh round of consultation with chief ministers on ways to strengthen the COVID-19 containment strategy and stepping up of economic activities in a calibrated manner as the 54-day nationwide lockdown nears an end.

Large-scale movement of migrant workers from urban to rural India and the problems their return to home states may cause in restarting the economy was also being discussed during the fifth virtual interaction between the prime minister and chief ministers since the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country.