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Railways gets PM praise for sanitising ‘every contact area’

The Railways is rolling out a series of steps to guard against the outbreak. It has advised people to avoid non-essential travel, even as major stations continued to show large footfall and perennially popular long-distance trains continued with long waiting lists Tuesday.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi |
March 18, 2020 4:52:07 am
Workers sanitise a local train in Mumbai. (Express photo: Prashant Nadkar)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday praised the Indian Railways for its efforts to sanitise “each seat, each door handle, each railing and virtually every passenger contact area” within its premises to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, sources said.

Modi’s words of praise for the national carrier came at the meeting of the BJP parliamentary party.

The Railways is rolling out a series of steps to guard against the outbreak. It has advised people to avoid non-essential travel, even as major stations continued to show large footfall and perennially popular long-distance trains continued with long waiting lists Tuesday.

Also, all major stations will now see the temporarily enhanced platform ticket price of Rs 50, up from the current Rs 10, to discourage crowding, as per instructions from Railway Board. Many stations, like Delhi, Mumbai and Ratlam, have already decided to implement the move, and others will follow suit. Thermal scanning of passengers has been started in major stations including in Delhi. Passengers will be advised to disclose symptoms, if any, before boarding trains.

The national transporter cancelled 35 pairs of trains—25 long distance mail/express trains and eight passenger trains—besides10 special trains due to low occupancy. The Railway Board on Monday had empowered its zones to take a call on these low-occupancy trains in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. By the end of the day, the number had gone up to 85 trains on up and down routes. Officials said it may increase further in the coming days.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who held a review meeting Tuesday, formed a Covid response team.

The Railways has also asked its employees to check their temperature at home before coming in to work.

Further, railway officials confirmed that suburban trains will continue to run in Maharshtra.

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