Published: September 4, 2020 5:06:31 am
Kolkata Metro, which had stopped commercial services on March 24, is likely to restart operations from September 14. The decision was taken at a meeting between senior Metro Railway officials and the West Bengal government on Thursday.
Both the state administration and Metro Rail officials said the modalities of implementing social-distancing norms and crowd management were discussed at the meeting. Another round of discussions will be held on Friday.
“The meeting was very fruitful and several significant issues, including crowd management, were discussed. However, more elaborate discussions are needed. So, we will again meet tomorrow,” said Indrani Banerjee, Metro Chief Public Relations Officer.
“The state government and the Metro authorities will have further discussion with the focus being on finding better solutions to manage crowds at the gates of the stations,” she added.
A top state administration official said, “We have assured the Metro authorities of all forms of assistance to ensure that Covid-19 protocols are followed while passengers avail the services.”
He added that the state government was also ready to help Kolkata Metro “by providing security personnel to help maintain Covid-19 protocols”.
The Union Home Ministry, in its Unlock-4 guidelines, has allowed Metro Railway services across India to resume from September 7 in a graded manner.
Earlier this week, the state government issued an order allowing the Metro railway services to resume from September 8. However, according to both the state government and the Metro administration, it is tough to restart full operations from September 8.
On August 31, Banerjee had said: “Metro timings will change and the number of trains will come down too. It will not be possible to run the Metro based on the previous schedule.”
Passengers will be encouraged to recharge smart cards online to avoid long queues at ticket counters. “Tokens will not be issued for the time being. Counters will be kept open for passengers to buy or recharge smart cards. However, to avoid queues, online recharge of cards will be encouraged,” she added.
The Metro administration is preparing for the restart by installing sanitiser-dispensing machines at stations, and following other Covid-19 protocols. Only smart-card holders will be allowed to travel.
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