As the number of COVID-19 cases in India is rises, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday issued standard operating procedures for movement of people by trains, saying only those passengers with confirmed e-tickets will be allowed to enter the station.
The order came after Indian Railways on Sunday announced that it will gradually restart passenger train operations from May 12. This will initially begin with 15 pairs of trains (30 return journeys).
Ticket booking in these trains will start at 4 pm on May 11 and will be available only on the IRCTC website only. Ticket booking counters at the railway stations will remain closed and no counter tickets (including platform tickets) will be issued, as per a statement released by the Ministry of Railways.
According to a standard norms issued by the home ministry, the movement of the passengers as well as the drivers of the vehicle transporting the passengers to and fro the railway station will be allowed on the basis of confirmed e-ticket.
It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train. All passengers will be provided with hand sanitisers at entry and exit points at states and in coaches. On arrival at their destination, the travelling passengers will have to adhere to health protocols.
The home ministry has also urged states to cooperate with Railways in running more 'Shramik' trains without any hindrance to facilitate faster movement of stranded migrant workers to their native places.It has also written to all States/UTs to prevent migrant workers to resort to walking on road and on railway tracks to reach their native places.
Meanwhile, 'Shramik' special trains for migrant workers will now run at its full capacity of around 1,600 passengers from the current 1,200 and will have up to three stops in a journey.
As on May 11, 2020, a total of 468 Shramik special trains have been operationalised from various states across the country, of which 363 trains have reached its destination and 105 trains are in transit. These trains have ferried migrants to cities like Tiruchchirappalli, Titlagarh, Barauni, Khandwa, Jagannathpur, Khurda Road, Prayagraj, Chhapra, Balia, Gaya, Purnia, Varanasi, Darbhanga, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Hatia, Basti, Katihar, Danapur,Muzzaffarpur, Saharsa etc.
In these shramik trains, passengers can travel observing social distancing. Proper screening of passengers is ensured before boarding the train. During the journey, passengers are given free meals and water.