After the announcement by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi for the extension of nation’s lockdown till May 3, the railways has to cancel around 39 lakh tickets booked for journeys between April 15 and May 3, as the passenger trains will remain suspended considering the crisis India is facing and to contain the pandemic by following social distancing measure.
Although, the Indian Railways has said all passengers will get a full refund for tickets booked for the cancelled trains as well as for those booked in advance. They added that the amount would be automatically refunded to online customers, while those who booked tickets at the counters could claim the refund till July 31.
Even before the announcement of the first lockdown, the Indian Railways had suspended all of their passenger mail express trains to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. Only for the transport of essential goods to different parts of the country cargo trains were working. And, after the announcement of the 21-day lockdown across the country, the railways had said its suspension of all passenger services will proceed till April 14. Around 15,523 trains have been influenced, including 9,000 and 3,000 mail express trains that run daily on regular days.
Since, people expected that with the lockdown being ended on April 15 they could get a chance to return to their respective homeland, and hence many people booked their tickets in advance. The Ministry of Railways had earlier informed that they do not have official orders to operate the passenger trains on April 15 and said that it is too early to speculate about the situation of resumption of passenger services at this stage. The railways further stated that, if there is a news going on around, there is no such truth in it, they will inform about the resuming of operations as and when a decision will be made in this regard. Still, people made their booking in advance and now the stage is, the Railways has to cancel their bookings.
Here, with almost all the trains suspended except from the cargo ones, thousands of migrant workers converged near the Bandra railway station in Mumbai hoping to catch trains back to their home states. Though they were hushed by the police and they had to return back. But, the question that remains within us, how they could book the tickets in advance when there is no official announcement by the Railways?