Inter-district bus transport and passenger train services within Tamil Nadu would be permitted from September 7, Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced on Wednesday, a day after large-scale relaxations in COVID-19 lockdown curbs came into effect.
While public and private bus transport were allowed only within districts from Tuesday, there were representations from the public seeking facilitation of services to travel from one district to another and hence the decision to further ease curbs, he said.
"Considering public welfare, inter-district government andprivate bus transport will be allowed across Tamil Nadu following the Standard Operating Procedure from September 7," Mr Palaniswami said in a statement.
Similarly, from the same date, passenger train services within the state shall be permitted, he said.
Inter-state train services are already operational in permitted routes. Metrorail has already been given the nod for resuming operations in the city from September 7.
Suburban train services, which were stopped from March across the country, continue to be barred.
Mr Palaniswami said alongside a slew of ongoing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, economic recovery was also imperative and the new relaxations were in continuation of stepstaken days ago like opening up places of worship, malls and lodges.
Appealing to people to follow the COVID protocol like social distancing, use of masks and hand hygiene, the Chief Minister said "the spread of the virus can be stopped if the government norms are followed without fail."
Regular passenger and suburban train services were first cancelled from March 22 till March 31 in view of the pandemic and remained suspended.
Subsequently, Shramik and other special trains were operated since May.
On August 31, the Southern Railway had announced further cancellation of special trains operated within Tamil Nadu upto September 15 "as per the request" of the state government.
The trains include Tiruchirappalli-Chengelpet-Tiruchirappalli superfast intercity special, run via Virudhachalam daily.
Bus services were stopped in the state from March 24 evening when the lockdown came into force for the first time in Tamil Nadu. However, from June 1, inter-district services were allowed across the state, barring Chennai and its neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts for a few weeks.
But, bus transport was again stopped from the last week of June following a rise in COVID-19 cases and citing difficulty in contact tracing.
Bus services within the districts resumed on September 1.