DELHI: On Thursday, the Ministry of Railways announced the cancellation of all reservations made for journeys till June 30, in passenger trains, including mail, express and suburban services. However, the Ministry clarified that Shramik Special trains for migrant workers and the passenger special trains between Delhi & 15 other stations which started operations from May 12 will continue its operations as scheduled.

The statement comes after the meeting which was held between the Prime Minister and state chief ministers. Many state heads including the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Telangana & West Bengal requested the PM not to allow operation of trains in their states as the cases were on a surge. 

In a statement issued by the railways, it said that full refund will be given to all passengers whose tickets have been cancelled. The cancelled tickets were booked before the lockdown, when the Railways was still taking reservations for journeys in June. 

According to the PTI, the Railways refunded nearly Rs 1,490 crore in April after 94 lakh tickets were cancelled which were booked before the lockdown was imposed. A further Rs 830 crore was refunded for travel planned between March 22 and April 14 during the first phase of the lockdown.

With the extension of the lockdown to May 17, the Railways had stopped taking bookings for all regular trains. However, in an announcement made on Sunday, it was said that 15 trains would be started in a phased manner.

These “special” trains (15 trains, 30 journeys), the first of which departed on Tuesday, will leave from Delhi and connect cities in Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura.

According to the ANI, the railways has run 642 “shramik” special trains as of Wednesday. These trains have carried around 7.9 lakh migrants and others stranded amid the coronavirus lockdown back to their home states.

Before the lockdown, the Railways operated around 12,000 trains every day, transporting Rs 28,032.80 crore worth of goods and earning Rs 12,844.37 crore from passenger fares in the third quarter of 2019/20 alone.

All non-essential trains, including regular passenger services, have been suspended since March 22, three days before the start of the coronavirus lockdown. From 25th March the operation of trains completely stopped as a preventive  measure to contain the virus.