The Ministry of Home Affairs, on August 29, has allowed the resumption of Metro services in the country from today in a “graded manner.” A couple of days after the announcement was made, New Delhi reported a sharp rise in the number of new coronavirus cases. Is the capital city in an excellent position to handle the unique issues and the commencement of metro operations?
After being closed for over five-and-a-half months due to the coronavirus induced lockdown, the country’s metro rail services would soon return to life. Under the guidelines for Unlock 4.0, the Ministry of Home Affairs has offered certain relaxations for gradually restarting public life. The Ministry has decided to reopen the metro services with proper preparations. It is operational from today in a graded manner.
Earlier, the Centre had reserved the restoration of metro services for the third phase. However, on accessing the circumstances, they thought that once the metro started ferrying commuters, the virus would have become unstoppable.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had been demanding on permitting metro services for the economy to revive. In Delhi, the metro functions as a joint venture between the Centre and the Delhi government.
Is it a good idea to allow metro services amid the rushing of new cases?
Ahead of resuming the so-called “lifeline of the capital”- metro services, the city is witnessing a surge in infections. On September 3, Delhi recorded 2,737 fresh COVID 19 cases, as per the state government’s data. Its highest single-day jump in nearly two months.
With 2,509 cases on September 2 and 2,312 on September 1, the number of active topics has seen a rise after a brief pause. Experts associate this growth to magnified public movement after easing of restrictions.
People were enjoying that the city had withstood the coronavirus’s peak and now moving towards the downhill journey. But in the last three days, the upward trend has started rolling again.
The pertaining question remains the same. Is it the right decision to allow metro services amid the whole situation? It has become a cause of worry at the time when the daily coronavirus cases continue to report over 2,000.
How will the operations carry out under a graded manner?
The metro services will start functioning in three stages.
First Stage (September 7 to September 10): On the first day, the Yellow Line and the Gurugram rapid metro will be thrown open to passengers from 7 am to 11 am, and then from 4 pm to 8 pm. The second day will open the Blue line and the Pink line, followed by the Redline, Greenline, and Violet line on September 10.
Second Stage (September 11): The commuting hours will be increased from 7 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 10 pm. The Grey and Magenta lines will also be running.
Third Stage (September 12): The metro services will work to its full-functionality, just like pre-lockdown times. The operational hours will be scheduled from 6 am to 11 pm. The Airport Express line will return on the tracks.
Standard Operation Procedures for metro operations:
In a meeting with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the Ministry of Transportation deliberated upon the standard operating procedure (SOP) to avoid crowding in the trains and stations. The DMRC has been gearing up to welcome passengers.
The guidelines call for limited entry and exit points, closed token counters, thermal scanner cum sanitizer dispenser at the entry points, and staff wearing masks and face shields. Facemasks are mandatory for the commuters as well. The stalls outside stations are allowed to sell masks.
There will be formal announcements asking passengers to adhere to social distancing norms. Also, the same signboards and stickers will be pasted inside the trains and at the stations.
The metro will follow the alternate seating arrangement. Every second seat will have to be left empty. While standing, two persons will have to observe a distance of at least one meter.
DMRC encouraged people to download the Aarogya Setu app. However, it is not mandatory.