Metro services will resume across the country, except Maharashtra, in a graded manner between September 7 and 12, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said Wednesday, urging commuters to follow Covid-19 restrictions and “name and shame” those violating them.
Delhi Metro, which accounts for around 389 km of the 700-odd-km Metro network in the country, will reopen in three stages starting September 7, with authorities deciding to allow operations on Yellow Line and Gurgaon’s Rapid Line on Day 1.
A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been worked out, under which commuters will have to wear masks, undergo thermal screening at stations, and can use only smart cards. Cash transactions will not be allowed inside stations. Both Puri and Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra told a press conference that trains will skip stations where passengers are seen violating social distancing norms.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director Mangu Singh said entry to stations will be allowed through a limited number of gates.
“If there is willful disregard, you have CCTVs, there will be no hesitation (in acting against violators). When a person misbehaves in an aircraft, we put them in no flyers’ list. I am not making any suggestion to Mangu Singh. As DMRC chief he has full autonomy to do whatever (needed). But I think there is also an element of naming and shaming. If an individual’s misbehaviour results in jeopardising a public utility which is so vital in the life of a city or a country, obviously there is little tolerance for such behaviour,” Puri said.
The SOP, a draft of which was circulated among Metro operators in May, was finalised on Monday involving all stakeholders including the CISF.
Among restrictions outlined in the SOP, only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to enter stations and those showing symptoms will be advised to go to the nearby Covid centre. The use of the Aarogya Setu app will be “encouraged”, it said.
DMRC MD Singh said he does not anticipate a significant rush as schools and colleges are closed, many private offices are encouraging work from home and because of the overall mood in the city, with people venturing out only if needed.
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