Friday, April 10, 2020

Covid-19: Railways may keep middle berths vacant for social distancing

MUMBAI: Once train services resume, railways is mulling options like running special trains only in areas which are not hotspot zones, keeping middle berths vacant in three-tier coaches and disallowing unreserved travel to curb spread of the virus.
Railway board chief V K Yadav, at a video meeting with top railway officials, indicated that the government plans to divide the country into three zones — red, yellow and green — depending on number of cases, said sources.
In the ‘red’ zone, no transport service will be introduced, the ‘yellow; zone will have restricted services and ‘green’ will see no restriction in number of services.
“No decision has been made, but various measures are being discussed in case the government asks the railways to resume services while ensuring social distancing rules,” said a source.
Measures being considered include no allotment of the middle berth and no provision of any linen or food on trains till the number of cases starts reducing, said the source. Also, all scheduled trains which are part of the timetable could be cancelled and only special trains will be run.
To stop coronavirus-positive patients from boarding trains, thermal screening may be done at all entry points and passengers over 60 will not to be allowed to travel. Besides, wearing a mask may be a must and those who don’t will be penalised and made to disembark.
Also, no unreserved travel may be allowed so that every passenger can be tracked down, said the source.
Regarding, commencement of services from major cities, most metro cities, except for Kolkata, could be classified in the ‘red’ zone going by the current trend of positive cases across the country, according to the source.

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