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Only patients, students and people with disabilities to get railway concessions for bookings as of now

NEW DELHI: Anybody can book train tickets in advance as the Indian Railways had never suspended reservation for journeys after April 14, the national transporter said and clarified that IRCTC concessions can only be availed by patients, students and people with disabilities.

Sources said a March 19 order issued by the Indian Railways suspending all concessions except the categories mentioned above till ‘further advice’ was yet to be rescinded.

The order was issued to discourage rail travel during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We will withdraw the order in time. For now, given the spread of the virus we want to give out a message to the people not to travel over the next two-three months. They can wait and book their tickets, there is no hurry. If they hurry, they will not get the concessions. We never said that we are permanently withdrawing concessions,” a senior railway official told PTI.

The Indian Railways clarified that reservations for journeys after April 14 were never suspended.

It also said that the advance reservation period for taking reserved tickets is 120 days.

The railways had suspended all passenger services till April 14 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown across the country to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Referring to a health advisory, the railways, in an earlier order, said the concessions were withdrawn for several categories, including that of senior citizens as the risk of spread and mortality rate due to the disease was highest among that category.

The national transporter had also said that in case of any cancellations made by those categories where concessions were withdrawn, no cancellation charges would be levied.