In order to be able to trace the movement of all passengers in the wake of the spread of COVID-19, the Indian Railways has asked IRCTC to collect information on the destination of passengers. This change has been made effective from 13 May on all passengers booking tickets to travel on special trains.
The government will use the data to facilitate contact tracing in case COVID-19 infections are detected among the train passengers later on.
In the meantime, the Railways has decided to cancel all train ticket bookings made till 30 June. However, the Shramik special trains and the 15 special trains will continue to operate. The Railways has cancelled all regular mail, express, passenger and suburban services of the railways since 25 March due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The Indian Railways have resumed services for normal passenger travel starting 12 May through special trains that run between 16 cities across India, with limited stops. There have been several restrictions placed and guidelines informed on travel and bookings.
One can only book these tickets over IRCTC website. Travel is only permitted for those with confirmed tickets and having no symptoms of COIVD-19 at the time of screening at the railway station.
Post 22 May, the Railway Ministry has decided to allow limited waiting list tickets and is considering adding more special trains gradually.
"It has been decided that in these special trains and special trains to be notified in due course of time, there shall be no 'reservation against cancellation' (RAC) and wait-listed tickets shall be issued subject to a maximum limit of 200 for sleeper class, 100 each for AC chair car and 3AC, 50 for 2AC and 20 each for executive class and 1AC," the railway ministry said in a circular issued on 13 May.
For a refund on tickets cancelled by the Indian Railways, the ministry said: "refund across the counter can be taken on submission of ticket up to six months from date of journey (instead of 3 days excluding day of journey)." As for E-ticket, the amount will be auto refunded as per the guidelines.