Mumbai: With the Maharashtra government prohibiting inter-district travel, the Railways Ministry on Thursday issued a circular cancelling tickets of all passengers whose originating and terminating stations on special trains fall within Maharashtra. The circular also directed that a full refund would be given without deduction of any cancellation or clerical charges.
This has already created resentment among people who were looking at going to their hometowns in Konkan, Vidarbha and other parts of the state; and were hoping that these train services will see them through.
The Railway Board on Thursday sent a circular to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) regarding the Maharashtra government’s decision on booking of tickets for 200 pairs of special trains that are scheduled to be run from June 1.
The circular states, The Maharashtra government has informed the Railways that inter-district travel is prohibited within the State. It is therefore desired that tickets of all passengers whose originating as well as terminating stations fall within the state of Maharashtra be cancelled and full refund be given without deduction of any cancellation charges. It is desired that till further orders, intra state booking within Maharashtra should not be permitted.
The circular also states that passengers should be sent an SMS stating, "Due to restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government for travel within the state by train, your ticket has been cancelled and full refund shall be given."
A Railway spokesperson, however, said that this did not necessarily mean that trains cannot emanate from stations in Maharashtra. "It means that people cannot board and also de-board a train within the state," he said. For instance, if a train from Mumbai to Kanpur goes via Nashik, no passenger who has boarded the train from any station in Maharashtra can de-board within the boundaries of the state. However, a passenger can board the train from Nashik and travel outside the state, the spokesperson explained.
"Only those who have availed of tickets to travel within the state cannot do so now," the spokesperson added. The special trains, including the Duronto Express, Jan Shatabdi and several popular mail and express trains, are scheduled to begin their journeys from June 1. Many people logged onto the IRCTC website and booked tickets to various parts of the country on these special trains. These also included those who wanted to travel within the state. The rail tickets were sold within 40 seconds, and many people who wanted to travel within Maharashtra found it difficult to book tickets.
INTRA-DISTRICT ST BUSES RESUMING
If passengers wanting to travel by train within the state are feeling let down, the Maharashtra government on Thursday brought some cheer by announcing its decision to resume from Friday (May 22) intra-district State Transport bus services, excluding in red zones and COVID-19 containment areas.
The ST buses will run at 50 per cent capacity and will be available for limited hours. For the past two months, MSRTC's bus operation has been restricted to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, where it is ferrying staffers on emergency and essential services duty. Senior citizens and children below 10 won't be allowed to board buses, barring in an emergency situation.
(With inputs from Agencies)