In an attempt to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, Indian Railways has decided to relax refund rules for tickets booked under Passenger Reservation System (PRS). It has advised the passengers to avail of the facility and avoid coming to the railway station. The relaxation is for the journey period from March 21- April 15, 2020.
The statement issued by the railways mentioned that all rules will remain unchanged for e-ticket as the passenger does not need to come to the station for a ticket refund. The statement added that if the train is not cancelled, but the passenger does not want to travel, Ticket Deposit Receipt (TDR) can be filed within 30 days from the date of the journey. Additionally, TDR can also be submitted to the chief commercial officer for getting the refund within 60 days of filing of TDR subject to verification from train chart, instead of extant rule of 10 days, the order stated.
Ministry of Railways: Indian Railways relaxes refund rules for PRS (passenger reservation system) counter generated tickets. Passengers are advised to avail the facility and avoid coming to Railway Station. #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/hSCN9T0dlA— ANI (@ANI) March 21, 2020
Furthermore, the statement also urged people to practice 'social distancing' and avoid going to crowded places.
The Indian Railways on Wednesday cancelled more than 100 trains due to low occupancy and as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus spread, according to official data. Eleven trains were cancelled each from the west-central railway and northern railway, 20 each from the south-central railway and northeast frontier railway, 32 from the southern railway, five from the east-central railway.
The cancellations from other zones were not available at the time of filing. Railways on Tuesday had issued a set of guidelines to zonal railways for its catering staff stating no employee having fever, cough, runny nose or difficulty in breathing "should be deployed in the business of food handling on the Indian Railways".
As of March 21, the total number of positive cases reported in India is at least 312. The maximum cases of the virus have been reported in Maharashtra and Kerala. So far, four deaths have been reported.
The Centre has “strongly advised” Indians to avoid all non-essential travel abroad. The government is also monitoring all suspected cases and has issued preventive advisories. Earlier on Saturday, the Central government decided to treat the deadly virus as a "notified disaster", and has since issued even more advisories and travel restrictions.