Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has urged all the States and Union Territories to take necessary steps for containing Novel Corona virus – COVID 19 in the means of public transport. In a letter to the Principal Secretaries and Secretaries in charge of Transport, and Transport Commissioners of all States/UTs, The Central Road Ministry has highlighted the importance of social distancing for controlling this disease.
The Ministry has requested the States to minimise transport numbers among the people, and also if it is not unavoidable, refund of fare may be considered against advance bookings.
Further, the States/UTs have been requested to make arrangements for sending SMSs to the passengers for making them aware of these steps.
Meanwhile Indian Railways, the biggest transport utility of the country, has been taking a series of proactive measures to stop the spread of Corona Virus in the country. To take stock of the ongoing efforts, Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Commerce and Industry, reviewed the progress of preparedness of Indian Railways in that regard.
The meeting was attended by Chairman, Railway Board, Members of the Railway Board besides all the General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers from all the zones who linked up through a video conferencing.
Chairman, Railway Board briefed the Minister of Railways on the measures taken as a part of the National efforts in fighting the spread of Corona Virus. These include:
1. Creation of Quarantine facilities all over the Railway network for any eventuality, upscaling the cleanliness and hygiene of all the Railway trains and station premises.
2. Dissemination of various advisories being issued by M/o Health & Family welfare, Department of Personnel and Training regarding social distancing, minimizing the unnecessary travel, observation of infection related preventive measures and other operational measures to prevent the spread of virus.
3. Help Desks at various stations in association with State Governments are being made available.
4. Cleanliness of coaches, toilets, pantry cars and all passenger interface points should be strictly adhered to and adequate availability of hand washing material and water has to be ensured in trains, platforms and offices.
5. Instructions on restriction of meetings involving mass gathering, trainings, conferences etc. may be discouraged.
6. Adequate availability of gadgets to the staff involved in screening and cleaning, wherever required, is being ensured.
7. Regular Announcement are being done on PA System of Railway Stations & Trains to sensitize the public about various Dos & Don’ts highlighting keeping hands clean by frequent washing of hands, maintaining social distance, covering the mouth while sneezing and coughing, precautions to be taken if one has running fever- (don’t travel and report immediately to the Doctor) and not spitting anywhere in the Rail premises.
He also informed that instructions have been given to all stakeholders to avoid unnecessary crowding at Railway Stations in wake of spread of COVID 19. It has been advised that the DRMs may review the situation over railway stations and raise the price of Platform Ticket to Rs. 50 wherever deemed necessary, to avoid overcrowding at stations.