Passengers booking tickets for the Rajdhani-type special trains and other trains that might be run in due course will have to first confirm that they are aware of the “quarantine protocol” of the states they are going to. Only then can they proceed to book the tickets.
After 140 passengers of a special Rajdhani from Delhi to Bengaluru had to be hauled back earlier this week because they refused to go to institutional quarantine for 14 days, Indian Railways has decided to add this feature to its IRCTC website.
Last Monday, while Railways decided to run special trains for all of passengers and not just stranded labourers, pilgrims, students and others, in what it called a “gradual resumption of passenger services”, it left it to the destination states and the passengers concerned to figure out whether they would be quarantined upon reaching a place or not.
Now, before finally proceeding to book tickets, a pop-up will appear on the screen of the website asking passengers to confirm if they had read the health advisory of the destination state and agree to abide by them.
The passenger needs to check “ok” to be able to book tickets. The message is in Hindi as well as English. It also asks the passenger to download the government’s contact-tracing app, Aarogya Setu.
This move became necessary because on May 14, of the 543 passengers who arrived in Bengaluru by the special Rajdhani train from Delhi, 140 refused to agree to the Karnataka government’s quarantine rules. They were asked to check into a nearby hotel-turned-quarantine centre for 14 days on payment basis, sources said. Since they refused, these passengers became the responsibility of the Railways as the state government refused to let them get out of the station.
Railways then, as an emergency measure, attached an extra coach to the special Rajdhani that was due to leave for Delhi. “We have taken this decision to avoid such hassle again,” said a senior Railway official.
The special Rajdhanis are travelling to and from 15 major cities connecting Delhi. More trains are slated to be introduced with non-AC classes as well but the matter has not been finalised yet and Railways is also awaiting the Centre’s final guidelines for extension of lockdown which are due Sunday.
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