NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways on Tuesday extended the suspension of all its passenger services till May 3, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to extend the nationwide lockdown amid COVID-19 threat.
It also said that full refund of fare would automatically be provided to its online customers for trains cancelled up to May 3, while those who have booked at the counters can claim the refund till July 31.
Customers will also get full refunds of their tickets if they are cancelling their advance bookings for trains not yet cancelled, it said.
Modi on Tuesday announced that the lockdown across the country will be extended till May 3 to fight the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measure has produced a significant outcome in containing the infection.
"In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19 lockdown, it has been decided that all passenger train services on Indian Railways, including premium trains, mail/express trains, passenger trains, suburban trains, Kolkata Metro Rail, Konkan Railway shall continue to remain cancelled till 2400 hours of May 3," a statement from the railways said.
It also said that to ensure essential supplies in various parts of the country, movement of goods and parcel trains will remain operational.
The railways further said that all counters for booking of rail journey tickets for reserved/unreserved travel at railway stations and outside railway station premises shall remain closed till May 3 midnight.
The railway board has issued instructions to the zones that full refunds for fares of cancelled trains should be initiated by them.
It said no advance reservation of trains tickets, including e-tickets, will be allowed till further orders.
However, facility of online cancellation will remain functional.
"As far as trains cancelled up to May 3 are concerned, refunds would be automatically provided by the railways online to the customers while those who have booked at the counters, refund can be taken up to July 31.
Full refund will be given for tickets for the bookings made for the trains cancelled," it said.
"Full refund will also be there for those cancelling the advance bookings of tickets for trains not yet cancelled," the railways said.
Railways has also extended its earlier waiver of demurrage, wharfage, stacking, stabling, detention and ground usage charges till May 3 for those using its freight services in view of the extension of the lockdown period.
These charges were previously waived off till April 14.
After Modi's announcement of a 21-day lockdown across the country on March 22, 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.
The railways said that passengers could claim a full refund for all trains cancelled in this period till June 21.
Around 15,523 trains run by the railways will be affected including 9,000 passenger trains and 3,000 mail express services which are run daily.
India has reported 10,363 cases of the virus and 339 deaths so far.