The Indian Railways on Saturday decided to relax refund rules for passengers who have booked their tickets for travel between March 21 and April 15, in order to reduce overcrowding of trains amid the coronavirus pandemic, PTI reported.

The Railways said that for cancelled trains between March 21 and April 15, refund across the counter can be taken on submission of ticket within 45 days from the date of journey. Presently, the time limit is just three hours.

In case a train is not cancelled but the passenger desires to cancel his journey, a Ticket Deposit Receipt can be filed within 30 days from date of journey at the station. Currently, the time limit is three days. The receipt can also be submitted to the chief commercial officer for getting the refund within 60 days of filing it, subject to verification from the train chart, instead of the extant rule of 10 days.

Passengers who cancel tickets by dialling 139 can get a refund across the counter within 30 days from the date of journey, instead of up to the scheduled departure of the train.

As many as 271 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in India so far, four of whom have died. The Railways has cancelled many long-distance trains in the wake of the pandemic. The closure of shops, restaurants and offices in many states has also triggered a mass return of wage workers to their villages. Over 3,500 trains will be cancelled on Sunday to enforce the “janata curfew” announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.