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Coronavirus | Railways mulls post-lockdown protocols

Amber signal: If it is a selective lifting of lockdown, trains will run only in areas where free movement is allowed.

Amber signal: If it is a selective lifting of lockdown, trains will run only in areas where free movement is allowed.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Officials say the focus will be on routes catering to migrant workers and avoiding COVID-19 hotspots

From making passengers wear masks to using the Arogya Setu app to check their health status before allowing them to travel and encouraging physical distancing on board are a few proposals that Indian Railways is mulling over as it prepares to gear for the end of the 21-day lockdown on April 14.

While no decision has yet been taken on when the passenger services officials said it is likely to be done in a phased manner.

Also read: Coronavirus | Indian Railways apprehend "enormous" rush to hospitals soon

Phase-wise resumption

A decision, officials said, is likely to be taken in the coming week on how to restore services. The Railways, officials said, has discussed the option of resuming services only on specific approval of each train from the Railway Board. Suggestions for phase-wise resumption of services have to be provided by the zone to the board.

“These are sensitive times and we are not looking in terms of revenue generation for now. The focus is on passenger safety and to ensure that the disease does not spread. Trains will run in due course, once the government gives us the green signal. However, as of now, we have not taken any decision yet, said a senior officer.

In the zones, officials are also identifying trains and routes which can be resumed with the approval of the board. The focus, say officials, is to see if routes catering to migrant workers can be resumed initially and also those that are not travelling or has halts at COVID-19 hotspots.

 

Officials added theRrailways will also have to factor in how the lockdown is eventually opened. If it is selective, then trains will only run in areas where lockdown is lifted, officials said.

Railways is also unlikely to rescind a March 19 order suspending all concessions for passengers except those offered to patients, students and people with disabilities in a hurry.

Also read: Coronavirus | Railways readying 5000 coaches as isolation wards

Masks, keeping distance

Railways, officials said, are are mulling options like thermal screening and other methods to screen passengers boarding trains.

“We are thinking of requesting passengers to wear masks as per the Health Ministry advisory. We are also thinking of using the Arogya app to check the health and wellness of patients and allow only healthy passengers, an official said. The Railways has also asked zones to ensure the security of coaches parked in depots.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 4:54:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/railways-mulls-post-lockdown-protocols/article31264097.ece

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