The Indian Railways on Thursday cancelled all train tickets booked for travel on or before June 30, even as the country prepares itself for relaxation in restrictions at the end of the third phase of the lockdown, PTI reported. Train services for passengers have remained suspended since a nationwide lockdown was imposed to combat the coronavirus in March. The lockdown, extended twice, is scheduled to end on May 17.
All passengers will be fully refunded, the railways announced. However, the ‘Shramik’ special trains for migrant workers and the 15 special trains connecting Delhi with other cities will run as per schedule.
The railways added that more special services will be started on new routes after May 12, based on the available coaches after reserving 20,000 for coronavirus care centers. On Wednesday, the Indian Railways issued an order allowing waitlisting of passengers from May 22 for journeys not just on the special trains, but also on all its upcoming services.
The government had also issued a Standard Operating Procedure for the special railway services. Passengers were asked to reach train station at least 90 minutes before departure and only those who were asymptomatic for the coronavirus and carrying confirmed e-tickets were allowed to board. However, the railways ministry later said that all passengers who are disallowed from travelling on trains because they showed symptoms of Covid-19 will receive full refund for their tickets.
The railways ministry had also made it mandatory for passengers travelling in special trains to download the Aarogya Setu mobile application.
In its SOP, the ministry said that no linen, curtains or blankets will be provided to the passengers, so they must bring their own. The ministry also encouraged passengers to get their own food and water. However, it said that dry, ready-to-eat food and bottled water will be provided to the passengers on payment.
India’s tally rose to 78,003 with 49,219 active cases, according to the health ministry’s Thursday morning update. The toll is now 2,549. In the last 24 hours, India reported 3,722 cases while the toll increased by 134.