New Delhi: The Indian Railways on Thursday suspended concessional tickets of various categories of people, including that of senior citizens, from March 20 midnight to discourage unnecessary travel in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
Only patients, students, and the 'divyangjan' category have been exempted from this order till further advice, a railway order said.
"In view of the health advisory issued regarding COVID-19 and to discourage passengers from undertaking non-essential travel it has been decided, as a special case, that no concessional unreserved ticketing system (UTS) and passenger reservation system (PRS) ticket for all categories of passengers, except students, four categories of 'divyangjan' and 11 categories of patients shall be issued.
"The above shall be applicable for tickets booked on or after March 20, 2020, till further advice," the order said.
The Railways also said the concessions have been withdrawn for senior citizens as the risk of spread and mortality rate due to the disease is highest among that category.
The Railways has quoted a World Health Organisation Joint Mission on coronavirus disease data and said that it indicates that individuals at the highest risk include people aged over 60 years.
"Out of the total 53 category of concessions now, only 15 category of concessions can be availed. Rest 38 category of concessions are withdrawn temporarily in view of Covid-19," a railway official said.
The national transporter also clarified that incase of any cancellations made by those categories where concessions have been withdrawn, no cancellation charges will be levied.
"For railway tickets already purchased before 00:00 hours March 20 in case of travel, no difference in fare shall be collected.
"Railways is taking all precautionary steps for the passengers. Active cooperation of all is required to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus," it said.