On the first day of the railways resuming services in the country, hundreds of people thronged the reservation centre at Chandigarh railway station on Monday to get refunds for tickets which were cancelled in March due to the nationwide lockdown.
A few were also present at the centre for the advance booking of trains. As the direct sale of tickets is not allowed at the ticket counter counters, huge barricades were installed before the counters to prevent people from gathering there.
Meanwhile, Una-Delhi Jan Shatabi reached the Chandigarh Railway station late evening and after a halt of ten minutes, left for Una in Himachal.
As many as 443 passengers arrived in Chandigarh. One man from New Delhi was sent to GMSH-16 after the man presented symptoms of Covid-19.
In preparation of resumption of services, an isolation room has been designed at the station for suspected cases of Covid-19. The UT administration appointed IFS Abdul Qyaum the nodal officer to keep a close eye on the passengers at railway station. It is mandatory for all passengers to have the Arogya Setu app installed in their phones and to undergo thermal screening.
Personnel of the Railway Protection Force were also deployed at the station to ensure that social distancing norms are followed. Several people, who tuned up with luggage thinking that operations have resumed fully, were turned away.
“I booked tickets for my family members and paid Rs 2,000. My tickets were reserved for March, and then the lockdown was announced suddenly. Yesterday, I was informed that our ticket money is being fully refunded. I came to collect the money around 8 am but my turn came at 3.15 pm. Thousands of people are coming, some to take their money back and some for advance reservation,” said Raghunath Sahay of Banaras, who stays in Daria.
“There is no train directly originating from Chandigarh Railway Station. Una-Delhi Jan Shatabi will come to Chandigarh Tuesday for going to Delhi. All adequate arrangements for screening of passengers were made here. The women’s waiting room has been turned into an isolation room. Passengers will be examined from a thermal scanner. If found with symptoms, they will be taken to the isolation room and then taken to hospitals in the UT,” said Anil Aggarwal, station superintendent.
As trains started functioning from Monday, Panchkula administration appointed two nodal officers, one each for Kalka and Chandigarh-Panchkula railway station and issued protocols to be followed before boarding. As per an order passed Sunday, passengers will be advised to download the Arogya Setu app.
The health department will also undertake comprehensive screening of all passengers. Social distancing norms were followed and passengers were made to board and de-board the trains in a staggered manner.
Passengers with confirmed tickets who were asymptomatic were being allowed. Responsibility of protection was given to the GRP and the Railway Protection Force.
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