Railways set to cancel around 39 lakh tickets booked for April 15-May 3 due to lockdown extension

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Railways is set to cancel around 39 lakh tickets booked for travel between 15 April and 3 May due to extension of the nationwide lockdown and suspension of passenger trains till then in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the national transporter allowing tickets to be booked during the 21-day lockdown for journeys after 14 April, around 39 lakh bookings were made by passengers hoping that trains will be in operation post-lockdown.

However, with the announcement of the extension of the lockdown period, the railways on Tuesday not only canceled all its passenger services till 3 May but also stopped all advance bookings.

Railways, however, said all passengers will get a full refund for tickets booked for the canceled trains as well as for those booked in advance.

Even as the announcement stalled over 15,000 passenger trains of the railways, thousands of migrant workers converged near the Bandra railway station in Mumbai hoping to catch trains back to their home states.

While they were dispersed later, questions were raised as to why railways kept bookings open despite the uncertainty over the extension of the lockdown period.

Railways have also said full refunds would be automatically provided by the national transporter for its online customers, while those who have booked at the counters can take the refunds up to 31 July.

Before the pandemic, on an average, around 8.5 lakh tickets were booked daily on the IRCTC website.

After Modi’s March 22 announcement of a 21-day lockdown across the country, the railways on March 24 had announced that its suspension of all passenger services will continue till April 14 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Around 15,523 trains run by the railways have been affected including 9,000 passenger trains and 3,000 mail express services which are run daily under normal circumstances.

Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in India has gone up to 12380 as 941 fresh COVID-19 infections were reported in the past 24 hours. Data from the Health Ministry also showed 37 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, taking the overall toll in India to 414. whereas, 1488 patients have been cured of the virus or discharged. 

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