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Coronavirus: Railways ask people to avoid travelling, relaxes refund rules

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Railways on Saturday cautioned people against travelling, cancelled more than 3,000 trains, relaxed refund rules, besides shutting down its museums and parks amid a spurt in coronavirus cases.

The national transporter alerted passengers of possible infection while travelling by trains, stating that it had found some cases of coronavirus infected passengers on trains.

A couple was deboarded from a Delhi-bound Rajdhani train on Saturday after co-passengers noticed a home quarantine seal on the husband's hand, the railways said, urging people to avoid non-essential travel for the safety of fellow citizens.

The railways reported two other recent incidents when people asked to remain in quarantine were found travelling on trains. Of the total people detected in the two instances, 12 tested COVID-19 positive.

It urged people to avoid or postpone all non-essential travel to avoid crowding on trains and encourage social distancing.

It has also relaxed refund rules for people who booked tickets to travel between March 21 and June 21.

For trains cancelled by railways during this period, refund across counter can be taken on submission of ticket upto three months from the date of journey, instead of the present three days rule.

In cases where the train is not cancelled but passenger wants to cancel his journey, the TDR ( Ticket Deposit Receipt) can be filed within three months from the date of journey at the station, the order read.

In view of a 'Janata curfew' announced by the Prime Minister, railways on Friday cancelled all passenger trains originating between Saturday midnight to 10 PM on Sunday.

It also reduced to bare minimum its suburban services in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderbad and cancelled all long-distance mail/express and intercity trains, including premium trains originating between 4 AM and 10 PM on Sunday.

However, trains which had commenced journey already prior to the above timelines will run upto their destinations, it said.

The national transporter's subsidiary IRCTC also announced that while its on-board services in mail/express trains will be trimmed to packed food like chips, biscuits, tea and coffee, food plazas, refreshment rooms, Jan Aahars and cell kitchens would only allow take away.

However, Rajdhani and Shatabdi will continue to have on aboard services, it said.

The railways has also ordered the closure of its rail museums, heritage galleries and heritage parks up to April 15 as a preventive measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"The National Rail Museum (NRM), New Delhi, regional rail museums and other rail museums, heritage park and galleries also attract a large number of visitors including children and old age people.

"Keeping in view the serious nature of the circumstances, it has been decided by the Competent Authority to close down all the rail museums, heritage galleries and heritage parks of Indian Railways up to 15 April 2020," the order said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 23:22 IST
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