Delhi/Mumbai, May 14:
Indian Railways has cancelled all regular train tickets booked for travel till 30 June and has announced that and full refunds will be issued to all passengers who had booked tickets for travel in these special trains.
These measures, however, do not include the “Shramik Special” trains and special trains that started running from 12 May. “Shramik Special” trains are taking migrant labourers from different states to their home states, while the special trains are running on 15 routes to ferry stranded Indians across the country.
On 12 May, Indian Railways had started 15 special trains in the ongoing lockdown with an aim to gradually resume the train services in India that are a lifeline for transport and communication in the country. The tickets of regular trains, which are being cancelled, were booked during the lockdown period when the railways was allowing bookings for journeys in June.
Regular mail, express, passenger and suburban services of the railways had been suspended from March 25 due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. On the first day of bookings on IRCTC, the Indian Railways had booked tickets for 80,000 passengers, earning a staggering amount of Rs 16 crore.
Railway Board on Wednesday issued an order (TC II/2003/2020/Refund Corona dated 13 May,2020) introducing the provision of waiting list starting May 22 for journeys not only on its presently operational special trains but also on all its forthcoming services.
In an indication that it might soon start mail, express as well as chair car services, the Railway Board on May 13 issued an order introducing the provision of waiting list tickets not only for its operational special trains but for more such trains "to be notified in due course".
However in this order, Railways also capped the waiting list on these trains -- up to 100 for AC 3 tier, 50 for AC 2 tier, 200 for Sleeper Class, 100 for chair cars, and 20 each for First AC and Executive Class.
While in present special trains only confirmed tickets are booked, the wait listed tickets will now be available for bookings opening on May 15 for journeys beginning from May 22.
The order from the railway board to zones indicates that the railways is planning to run mixed services instead of the presently all air-conditioned trains. This also means that it could begin services to smaller towns along with the major cities that its Rajdhani specials are catering to now.
Neither “Tatkal” or “Premium Tatkal” Quota nor senior citizen quota will be available on these trains. Reservation against Cancellation (RAC) tickets will also not be allowed. No waiting ticket holder will be allowed to travel, officials said, adding that they will get full refund.
Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]
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