New Delhi [India], September 2 (ANI): The Metro rail corporations can resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing in view of COVID-19 pandemic, said Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs.
This comes ahead of the resumption of the functioning of metro rails across the country from September 7.
"The Metro rail operations are being resumed in a graded manner from September 7. Those metro systems which have more than one line will open different lines from September 7, in a calibrated manner, so that all corridors become operational by September 12," Puri said during a media interaction.
"The frequency of trains will need to be regulated. Stations in containment zones will remain closed. Wearing face masks will be mandatory. Only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to travel after thermal screening. Adequate time at stations to be provided to enable smooth boarding/deboarding ensuring social distancing. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing. Use of Aarogya Setu App to be encouraged," he added.
This opening up of metro rail services in a graded and calibrated manner will need to be reviewed, Puri said.
"If we find that resumption of operations is not resulting in social distancing, then, we might have no option but to review these arrangements," Puri warned.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Chief Mangu Singh said, "Initially, we will open only one line and operating hours will be 7 am to 11 am and 1600 hours to 2000 hours."
"Only selected gates at the metro stations will be open for entry. A separate gate will be marked for exit only. Only use of Smart Card and cashless/online transactions will be allowed," he added.
As per an official release, Metro rail corporations will keep close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowd outside station and to deal with contingencies.
"Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur) Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOPs. Government of Maharashtra has decided not to resume operation of metro in September 2020. Hence, Mumbai Line-1 and Maha Metro operations shall commence from October 2020 or as the State Government may decide further," it said.
The Home Ministry, in its Unlock 4 guidelines, gave permission for the functioning of metro rails across the country in a graded manner. The guidelines gave more relaxations in the restrictions enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19. (ANI)