Railways Take A Rs 450 Crore Blow Amid Steps To Minimise Train Travel


Continuing with the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus, Indian Railways has taken steps to minimise the travel-related risks to elderly citizens, more prone to the coronavirus attack, by withdrawing the special concessions entitled to them.

At present, male senior citizens get 40 per cent while women get 50 per cent concession on the total fare. Besides, the national transporter has also suspended over 100 train services due to low occupancy across the country including AC suburban service in Mumbai.

The increased number of train cancellations has resulted in a loss of about Rs 450 crore till now to the state-run transporter.

Senior citizen concession has been withdrawn temporarily from March 20 to discourage them from undertaking non-essential journeys, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Apart from senior citizens, concessions in other categories on tickets in the unreserved and reserved segments have also been withdrawn from Friday (March 20) till further advisory.

According to railways, out of total 53 categories of concessions now only 15 categories of concessions can be availed which include incentive for patients, students, and Divyangs as the rest 38 categories of concessions are withdrawn temporarily in view of COVID-19.

Central Railway has also canceled 16 AC suburban services running on trans harbor line – Thane-Vashi/Nerul/Panvel – are cancelled from March 20 to March 31 in the wake of coronavirus scare.

It has been seen that the risk of spread and mortality rate due to the COVID-19 virus is highest among senior citizens as susceptibility increases with age.

As the report of the WHO Joint Mission on coronavirus disease indicates, “Individuals at highest risk for severe disease and death include people aged over 60 years.”

It further says, “Mortality increases with age, with the highest mortality among people over 80 years of age”.

Railways maintain that amidst the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the increasing number of cases in India, it has become imperative to curtail its spread and protect the most vulnerable group of population – people with chronic illness and especially senior citizens.

Withdrawal of such concessions is also a part of a wider plan to discourage unnecessary travel by all concerned and hence concessional booking of all tickets have been withdrawn except patients, students and the Divyangjan category for both unreserved and reserved segments.

It is notable that a large number of requests are already being received by Indian Railways for cancellation of tickets booked by senior citizens and provide a waiver of the cancellation fee.

Seeking active cooperation from all to combat the spread of COVID-19, Railways is taking all precautionary steps for the passengers.