The Howrah junction railway station, which witnesses a footfall of almost one million passengers on a daily basis, now wears a deserted look with all 24 of its platforms unoccupied and empty during the day.
COVID-19 Impact on Indian Railways: The popular Indian Railways’ Howrah junction station, which is India’s busiest railway station, has been left deserted after the pan-India suspension of train services was announced, for preventing the growing menace of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Howrah junction railway station, which comes under the Eastern Railways (ER) zone of the Railway Ministry, witnessed only a few trains arriving at the station on March 23, 2020, which had already left from their destinations before the Railway Board announced the suspension of all Mail/Express, premium and local train services from the network. An Eastern Railway spokesperson told Financial Express Online that during regular operations, more than 400 Mail/Express trains and suburban trains operate from the Howrah station on a daily basis.
The Railway Board has suspended all train services from the network till March 31, 2020 and the unprecedented step has been taken to stop the spread of the Coronavirus infection on the rail network from person to person. The Howrah junction railway station, which witnesses a footfall of almost one million passengers on a daily basis, now wears a deserted look with all 24 of its platforms unoccupied and empty during the day. The Howrah station also has the distinction of having the highest number of station platforms on the Indian Railways network.
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Following the Railway Ministry’s directives to check the spread of the COVID-19 infection, the Eastern Railways zone has cancelled all its train services from its zones and has also started the refund of train tickets for passengers. Indian Railways has also relaxed the refund rules for passengers as the PRS counter generated tickets can be refunded between the period March 21, 2020 – June 21, 2020. Passengers do not need to come to the railway stations to avail the refund. The railway authorities will automatically generate the refund, once the passenger has applied for the same. This practice has been adopted to avoid overcrowding and encourage social distancing at railway stations.