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Minister of State (Independent Charge), Housing and Urban Affairs & Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri has announced the standard operating procedure (SOP) guidelines for metro rail operations. As per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order no. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) of August 29, metro services will resume from September 7 in a graded manner.
For this purpose, SOP guidelines have been prepared by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), which have been concurred by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Metros having more than one line would open different lines staring from September 7 onwards in a graded manner so that all corridors become operational by September 12. Daily hours of operations may be staggered initially, which would be increased gradually with the resumption of full revenue service by September 12. The frequency of trains will be regulated to avoid overcrowding at stations and in trains.
Stations and entry-exit gates in containment zones will be closed. To ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains will be undertaken. Wearing of face mask will be mandatory for all passengers and staff. Metro rail corporations may make arrangements for the supply of masks on a payment basis to the persons arriving without a mask.
Only Asymptomatic Passengers to Be Allowed
Only asymptomatic persons to be allowed to travel after thermal screening at entry into the stations. Symptomatic persons would be advised to go to a nearby COVID-19 care centre or hospital for testing and further medical attention. The use of the Aarogya Setu App would be encouraged.
Sanitisers will be provided on entry into the stations for use by passengers. Sanitisation of all areas having a human interface, viz. equipment, train, working area, lift, escalators, handrail, AFC gate, toilets, etc., would be done at regular intervals. The use of the smart card and cashless or online transactions will be encouraged. Tokens and paper slips and ticket will be used with proper sanitisation. Adequate dwell time at stations will be provided to enable smooth boarding and deboarding to ensure social distancing. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing.
Passengers will be advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick screening. Operation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system will be as per the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) guidelines. The intake of fresh air in the air-conditioning system will be increased to the extent possible.
Information, education and communication (IEC) campaign to be launched for passengers and staff through electronic, print, social media, poster, banner, hoarding and websites. Metro rail corporations will maintain a close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowd outside the station and to deal with contingencies.
Based on the above guidelines, Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur) Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOPs. The Govt of Maharashtra, however, has decided not to resume the operation of the metro services during September 2020. Hence, Mumbai Line-1 and Maha Metro operations shall commence from October 2020 or as the state government may decide further.