Coronavirus Lockdown: Train Tickets Cancelled Till June 30; Migrant Specials to Continue
New Delhi: The Railways has cancelled all tickets for regular passenger trains, including mail, express and suburban services, for journeys booked up to June 30. A full refund will be given to all passengers whose tickets stand cancelled, the Railways said in a statement released Thursday morning.
The cancelled tickets were booked when the Railways was taking reservations for journeys in June.
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.
Last month, according to news agency PTI, the Railways refunded around Rs 1,490 crore after 94 lakh tickets, booked before the lockdown was imposed, were cancelled. A further Rs 830 crore was refunded for travel planned between March 22 and April 14, the first phase of the lockdown.
All non-essential trains, including regular passenger services, have been suspended since March 22, three days before the start of the coronavirus lockdown. With the extension of the lockdown to May 17, the Railways had stopped taking bookings for all regular trains.
However, 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 stuttering national economy.
These "special" trains (15 trains, 30 journeys), the first of which departed on Tuesday, will leave from Delhi and connect cities in Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura.
The Railways has also run 642 "shramik" special trains as of Wednesday, news agency ANI has said. These trains have carried around 7.9 lakh migrants and others stranded amid the coronavirus lockdown back to their home states.
Lakhs of migrants were left stranded across the country after the lockdown was first imposed. 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.
The government, reportedly driven by fear of political backlash, finally permitted special trains to be run for migrants and other stranded people.
Before the 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.
(Inputs and image from ndtv.com)
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