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Published On: Mon, Aug 24th, 2020

In Unlock-4, metro services likely to resume

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metroNEW DELHI : Metro rail services are likely to be allowed in the fourth phase of unlocking the country from the corona virus-linked restrictions that is expected to be rolled out by next month, government sources said.
“We are ready to resume services in a few days’ notice but are awaiting the formal nod from the MHA. Across states’, preparations have been made to ensure marking across all stations.
Delhi has the highest volume of metro users. Arrangements have been made at the stations and inside the trains for social distancing. We will need to manage crowds and the frequency of trains depending on the crowd,” a second officer cited above said.
The Unlock-4 guidelines for the same will be issued later this week and once the MHA gives the nod, respective state government can further decide how to run the metro trains and their timings, another officer said.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which provides security to the metro, is also ready and has already conducted drills on how passengers will queue up at entry points, platforms, among other things like use of Aarogya Setu app for all, said an officer in the paramilitary force.
But schools and colleges will still remain shut and restrictions will remain on crowded places like cinema halls, the sources added. The final call to resume metro services will, however, depend on the state governments. Delhi Metro is likely to start services from September 1, but with extensive restrictions, sources said.
The talk of opening the Delhi Metro gained momentum after a request from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who contended that the coronavirus situation in Delhi has improved.
“I have requested the Centre that Delhi should be treated differently,” Mr Kejriwal said yesterday at an online meet with traders, entrepreneurs and businessmen.
“The corona virus situation is improving in Delhi. If they do not want to run Metro trains in other cities, let it be so. But, in Delhi, Metro train services should be started in a phased manner, on a trial basis,” he added.
Sources said the Centre’s reasoning was that flight and train services have resumed which requires passengers to be inside a train or plane for hours. In comparison, the longest metro journey cannot stretch for more than two hours and is possible if all the safety measures can be maintained.
India has been recording the world’s highest daily spike in corona virus figures since August 8. Over the last three days the number has been close to 70,000. Today it slowed slightly, with data from the health ministry showing a spike of 61,408 cases. The country has already logged more than 31 lakh cases of the disease. The number of fatalities climbed to 57,542.

On Sunday, Delhi recorded 1,450 new corona virus cases — the highest single-day spike in August that took the tally to over 1.61 lakh. The death count rose to 4,300.
“The new norms being drafted by the MHA on resumption of metro rail are likely to include contact-less ticketing through metro cards, increase in the average stoppage time at each station.
markings for queues across all stations to control crowds and maintaining social distancing and an overhaul in the air conditioning system inside the trains to ensure supply of fresh air,” said an official who didn’t wish to be named.




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