The Indian Railways has, till date, refunded Rs 1,885 crore towards cancellation of tickets to passengers due to the lockdown. The refund was initiated for passengers whose tickets were booked from March 21 to May 31, 2020, through the online mode. The railway has refunded the entire cost of the reserved tickets.
The amount owed to passengers has been directly transfered to the account from where the payment was earlier made to book the tickets. The Railways suspended its regular passenger train services from March 25, 2020, as the nationwide lockdown was announced to check the spread of the deadly pathogen in India. Since trains were cancelled en masse, the Indian Railways faced the challenge of returning a huge amount of refund to its passengers.
Indian Railways announced resumption of 200 trains from June 1
On May 21, Indian Railways had announced the restart of services of 200 passenger trains and issued a list of 100 pairs of trains that it will operate from June 1.
The decision to allow trains to resume operations comes after the Modi government announced the resumption of domestic flight services, in a phased manner.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce the decision. The Indian Railways will run 100 pairs of trains— to and fro. The bookings will open on Thursday, 21 May and booking can be made 30 days in advance. The tickets can only be booked from the IRCTC website.
Indian Railways had also issued some guidelines to be followed during the resumption of railway services across the country. The Railways also ordered that the food stalls and canteens at stations are to be opened, bringing back some normalcy on railway stations.
Second phase of resumption of trains
Earlier, the Indian Railways had announced the gradual resumption of passenger train services in the country. In the first phase, 15 pairs of trains, which will mean a total of 30 return journeys were opened for booking for general passengers, unlike the Shramik special trains which are booked by individual state governments to transport people stranded at various places due to the coronavirus Lockdown.
The Indian Railways had also started running special trains, named Shramik Special trains, on the exclusive request of state governments to enable migrant labours, pilgrims, students and others to reach their native places after remaining stranded at various places for over a month due to the lockdown.