The state government on Tuesday announced the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the restart of local train services from Wednesday. In it, the government divided responsibilities between its officials and the railways.
According to the SOP, released by the Home and Hill Affairs Department, the railways will make an adequate number of trains available as per the requirement, and sanitise coaches daily, and as and when deemed desirable.
Wearing a face mask or cover will be mandatory for passengers. Entry and exit points will be earmarked to facilitate passengers’ movement. Some existing entry and exit points may need to be blocked, according to the government.
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) will assist the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the state police in access control and crowd control.
To minimise contact, the railways will encourage e-ticketing and digital payments. “Ticket checkers will be deployed at stations…If considered necessary, the railways may also work out some kind of authorisation-based access system for checking entry at stations to limit the crowd,” read the SOP.
The railways will ensure that washrooms are sanitised regularly, and sufficient amounts of soap and hand sanitisers are available at stations.
Regular cleaning and sanitisation of platforms will also be ensured by the railways. The government said train time tables and health protocols should be widely publicised, and the authorities should ensure physical-distancing norms and new seating arrangements are properly followed. The railways have been asked to increase natural ventilation at all places to reduce the risk of infection.
Meanwhile, the government said it would ensure the availability of adequate means of transport to stations. Random thermal checking and other protective measures will be in place to ensure asymptomatic persons do not enter stations. The state police will also ensure the smooth deployment of police personnel.
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