Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a 21- day lockdown across the county, the Indian Railways on Wednesday announced to extend the suspension of all passenger services till April 14.

Freight movement, however, will continue to carry essential commodities across the county.

Coronavirus Lockdown

Also Read: Coronavirus Effect: Railways Cancels 168 Trains

The Railways on Sunday had announced suspension of all its passenger services from March 22 midnight to March 31 midnight in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic to break the chain of transmission of the deadly disease.

The suspensions also included all suburban train services.

Railways said that passengers could claim a full refund for all trains cancelled in this period till June 21.

It also said that people who couldn't avail train journeys could wait it out at station waiting room with their timings being extended.

The Railway Board on Tuesday also issued instructions to all its production units to examine the feasibility of manufacturing items like simple hospital beds(without mattress), medical trolleys for hospitals and quarantine facilities, and IV stands to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Railways has also ordered the closure of all rail museums, heritage galleries and heritage parks up to April 15 as a preventive measure to control the spread of the disease.

The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), on the other hand,  appealed to the people not to cancel their e-tickets on their own in case of trains being cancelled by the national transporter due to nation-wide lockdown to help curb the spread of novel coronavirus pandemic.

Clearing the doubts of the railway passengers, IRCTC spokesperson Siddharth Singh said, "Doubts have been raised regarding cancellation of e-tickets subsequent to the halting of railway passenger trains.

"It may be submitted that for trains cancelled by the railways in its complete run, refund on e-tickets is full and automatic. In this case, no cancellation exercise is required to be done on the part of the user," he said.

The IRCTC official said that if user cancels his e-ticket in situations of train cancellations, there are chances he may get "less refund". "Hence passengers are advised not to cancel e-tickets on their own for those trains which have been cancelled by the railways," he said.

He also said that the refund amount will be credited to the user account used for booking e-tickets automatically and no charges will be deducted by the railways in case of train cancellation.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: Railway Begins Thermal Screening Of Passengers In Running Trains

His remarks came as the national transporter announced the suspension of the passenger, mail and express services from March 23 till March 31. However, the railways extended the suspension of services till April 14 in the wake of the three-week lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 25 during his second special address to the nation on Tuesday night.

The railways has cancelled over 13,600 passengers trains across the country in a bid to combat the spread of novel coronavirus. Only freight trains are running to ensure the supply of essential services. About 9,000 freight trains are transporting essential items every day across the country.

On Wednesday, India recorded 562 cases of COVID-19 with 10 deaths.

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