Indian Railways Cancels All Tickets, Trains Till June End; But These 15 Special Trains Will Run
What Does Railway Say?
The Railways said in a statement released Thursday, a full refund will be given to all passengers whose tickets have been cancelled.
Basically, these cancelled tickets were booked before the lockdown, when the Railways was still taking reservations for journeys in June.
For people, who booked tickets 120 days prior to the date of the journey will get a refund against cancellations.
Further, the statement also clarified that “shramik (worker)” – trains being run to transport stranded migrants – and “special” passenger trains – that this week started running between Delhi and 15 stations as part of efforts to gradually restart normal service – will continue to operate as scheduled.
What About Refund?
According to news agency PTI, last month the Railways refunded around Rs 1,490 crore after 94 lakh tickets, booked before the lockdown was imposed, were cancelled.
Addition to that, Rs 830 crore was refunded for travel planned between March 22 and April 14, the first phase of the lockdown.
As all the non-essential trains, including regular passenger services, have been suspended since March 22, three days before the start of the coronavirus lockdown.
When the extension of the lockdown stretched to May 17, the Railways had stopped taking bookings for all regular trains.
What About The Resuming Train Services?
Moreover, on Sunday the Railways announced plans to restart passenger trains in a phased manner, five days before the end of the lockdown, as the government looks to re-start normal life and boost a sputtering national economy.
According to the plan, these 15 special trains with 30 journeys, the first of which departed on Tuesday, left from Delhi and connect cities in Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura.
Considering the safety and hygiene measures, the passengers on these trains, apart from being directed to follow social distancing and wear face masks, must now also give an address in the destination city, to help with contact tracing if needed.
Why Would This Happen?
Further, the Railways has also run 642 “shramik” special trains as of Wednesday, news agency ANI has said.
While these trains have carried around 7.9 lakh migrants and others stranded amid the coronavirus lockdown back to their home states.
Since lakhs of migrants were left stranded across the country after the lockdown was first imposed.
With the situation in hand, with no jobs, money, food or shelter, and with public transport, including trains, shut, they were forced to try and walk hundreds of kilometres home, triggering a massive crisis.
Finally, the government-driven by fear of political backlash, permitted special trains to be run for migrants and other stranded people.
Prior to this lockdown, the Railways operated around 12,000 trains every day, transporting Rs 28,032.80 crore worth of goods and earning Rs 12,844.37 crore from passenger fares in the third quarter of 2019/20 alone, according to PTI.