Indian Railways will forgo around ₹1,490 crore in revenue as it is refunding the amount towards cancellation of a whopping 94 lakh ticket bookings made by passengers prior to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Top Railways officials told PTI that an amount of ₹830 crore will be refunded for 55 lakh bookings made for travel between March 22 and April 14. The Railways had largely suspended its passenger train services on March 22, three days before the 21-day lockdown came into force.
Another ₹660 crore would be returned for around 39 lakh bookings made for travel between April 15 and May 3, they said.
India went under a total shutdown of 21 days from March 25 to April 14. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extending the lockdown till May 3.
The Railways had not stopped bookings for journeys beginning April 15.
The national transporter added that the money would be automatically refunded to online customers, while those who booked tickets at the designated reservation counters could claim the refund till July 31. Facility of online cancellation will continue to remain functional.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, the Indian Railways extended the suspension of all its passenger services till the end of the lockdown.
However, people on social media said the Railways had deducted the convenience fee per online booking while making the refunds.
“When train is cancelled, the passenger is refunded full fare. Convenience fees is not refunded which are nominal to an individual and used for day-to-day maintenance and upgradation of the ticketing facility,” the railways explained in a statement.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) charges a nominal convenience fee of ₹15 per ticket on non-AC travel and ₹30 for air conditioned and first class tickets.