New Delhi: To combat the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Indian Railways has cancelled all passenger trains until 31 March.
However, to ensure seamless supply of essential commodities across the country, goods trains will continue to ply. Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted about the decision Sunday.
Strengthening precautions against COVID-19, Railways has decided that no passenger train will run up to 31st March.
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) March 22, 2020
The decision was taken at a high-level committee chaired by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, which also decided to “extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport, including inter-state transport buses” as well as metro services, until 31 March.
Additionally, state governments have been advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in the 75 districts which have reported confirmed cases or casualties due to COVID-19. The state governments may expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation. Several state governments have already issued orders in this regard.
Full refunds for railway cancellations
The government has stated said that trains that had already commenced their journey prior to 4 am on 22 March “will run up to their destinations and adequate arrangements shall be made for the passengers, who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations”.
The railways are also making an effort to provide relief to the passengers who have already booked their tickets for future journeys. The statement adds: “Full refunds for all cancelled trains may be taken till 21 June 2020.”
Earlier, the railways had announced the cancellation of 3,700 long-distance and passenger trains scheduled for Sunday, the day when PM Narendra Modi has called for a ‘janata curfew’ across the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus. It had stated that only long-distance and inter-city trains that have good occupancy or were booked well in advance may run, subject to assessments by zonal general managers.