GUWAHATI, April 19 - The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has refunded Rs 33.81 cr to the passengers whose tickets had to be cancelled on account of the suspension of passenger train services due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
�During the first phase of the lockdown from March 24 to April 14, the number of passengers who cancelled their tickets was 2,43,939 and the amount refunded to them was approximately Rs 22.41 crore. Similarly, during the second phase of lockdown, which started on March 15, a total of 1,23,716 passengers cancelled their tickets till April 17 and the amount refunded to them was approximately Rs 11.40 crore. So overall, since the beginning of the lockdown and till April 17, an amount of Rs 33.81 crore was refunded by NFR to a total of 3,67,655 passengers who cancelled their tickets,� said Subhanan Chanda, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NFR.
He added, �NFR would like to assure all passengers that they need not worry about getting refund as the Ministry of Railways has already decided to give full refund for all tickets for the cancelled trains by amending the refund rules.�
It is noteworthy that as part of the various measures taken by the Union Government in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Railways also decided to suspend operation of all passenger trains.
Accordingly, passenger trains to and from the NFR zone were also cancelled initially till April during the first phase of the lockdown.
Later, the suspension of passenger services was extended up to May 3 following extension of the lockdown period.
�As crores of passengers daily use trains to commute, the suspension of train operation has created problems for them. However, to minimise their problem, the Railway Ministry immediately changed the refund rules by duly notifying changes in all types of media so that all sections of people get to know about the changes for their benefit and heavy rush to get refund at ticket counters can be avoided and social distancing can be maintained,� said Chanda.
As the lockdown period has been extended, no booking of any type of tickets, including E-tickets, will be done until further advice, he said.
�However, the facility of online cancellation will remain functional for ticket bookings. But, all counters for ticket booking for Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) and Passenger Reservation System (PRS) will remain closed till further orders. Full refund will be given for tickets for the bookings made for the cancelled trains. Full refund will also be there for those cancelling the advance bookings of tickets for trains not yet cancelled,� said Chanda.
He added, �In case of the trains cancelled up to May 3, the refunds would be automatically remitted online by the Railways to the customers who had booked the tickets online, but those who had booked across the counters can claim the refund at the counters till July 31.�
While passenger services have been cancelled, freight train operations are being continued round-the-clock by NFR to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential commodities.
�NFR staff are working day and night to run freight train services throughout its jurisdiction ferrying essential commodities like salt, sugar, foodgrains and petroleum products for the public distribution system. Moreover, NFR is also carrying items like potatoes, milk, vegetables, fertilizers and foodgrains transported by private businessmen so that there is no shortage of these commodities for the common people,� Chanda said.