New Delhi: A decision to extend the nationwide lockdown beyond 3 May or not is yet to be taken by the government, but the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have started preparations for the system to be followed when the operations resume.
On Thursday, the CISF, which is responsible for the Delhi Metro’s security operations, released detailed guidelines for its personnel and passengers to follow whenever the trains start running again.
The guidelines for passengers made use of face masks and the Narendra Modi government’s mobile application, Aarogya Setu, compulsory. It also stressed on strict social distancing norms.
The rules for CISF personnel included no-contact and a hygiene routine.
While the guidelines have been issued, there is no clarity yet on when the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) can resume operations. The DMRC had shut down the services on 22 March, two days before the nationwide lockdown came into effect.
“The CISF might have issued the guidelines but till Thursday afternoon no final decision was taken on the issue of resuming Delhi Metro operations. This decision has to be taken jointly by the Delhi government and the central government,” said a senior Delhi Metro official, who didn’t wish to be named.
“Still we will try to follow ‘two-yards-distance’ inside the Metro stations. Apart from this, people will also be asked to follow the rule of leaving two to three empty seats between all commuters while travelling in the metro coaches,” the official said.
The official added that there are 60 metro stations as of now that fall in Covid-19 red zone. “In such a situation, there might be some delay before the government makes a final decision,” said the official.
As of Friday morning, Delhi has a total of 3,515 Covid-19 cases with 59 deaths reported so far.
While issuing the guidelines, the CISF said, “The Government of India had banned the services of Delhi Metro in lieu of Covid-19 pandemic. However, now the Government of India may allow resuming the services of Delhi Metro with some restrictions for the passengers.”
It added that it has an additional responsibility now to protect its personnel as well as the passengers. “All these parameters have been prepared keeping in mind the outbreak of Covid 19,” said the nine-page statement, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint.
What the guidelines for commuters say
According to the CISF guidelines, only those passengers wearing a face mask and having the Aarogya Setu app on their phones will be allowed entry into the metro stations.
Explaining the reason, the guidelines say the app has been made mandatory for the passengers to “identify category of persons” using the service. Only those who are “green coded (safe category)” and have an e-pass will be allowed entry.
“All CISF personnel on duty should be allowed to carry mobile phones with the app installed in it as it will aid in contact tracing, in case of subsequent COVID-19 detection from any contact at a later stage,” the statement adds.
The app can only be downloaded on a smartphone.
Asked about people who don’t own a smartphone, a CISF source at a metro station said they won’t allow such passengers initially according to the guidelines.
The CISF guidelines also said only a limited number of gates will be opened at all metro stations and passengers will be allowed inside in a controlled manner following the “one-meter-social-distance” policy.
Thermal screening of all the passengers will also be conducted. People with abnormal temperature or symptoms like cold, cough and flu won’t be allowed inside.
If a sanitation tunnel is created for the passengers inside or outside the station gates, it will be mandatory for them to pass through it.
Six personal protection equipment (PPE) kits will be kept in store at general stations and 20 PPE kits at interchange stations to deal with suspected passengers and/or baggage.
Rules for CISF personnel
The guidelines for the CISF personnel mandated a strict no physical-touch rule during security checks. In the case of suspicious bags, the passengers will have to open the bag and remove the items.
Cleaning of uniforms upon completion of duty cycles has been instructed.
All equipment, public toilets and shops inside the premises will be sanitised regularly.
The personnel have also been asked to avoid touching their eyes, nose, mouth without washing their hands. They are also required to clean hands immediately after touching any suspected person.
They have also been asked to not shake hands with or hug any colleague. Following the advice of the Ministry of AYUSH, the personnel have also been asked to meditate daily for at least 30 minutes.
The guidelines also said personnel won’t be allowed to get their hair trimmed at barber shops. Those with their own hair trimming kit, however, can seek help from the barbers.
CCTV cameras will be used to monitor compliance of social distancing norms inside the metro campuses. Proper deployment of dog squads will be done, as usual, at sensitive places, it said.
Reserve staff as well as reserve PPE kits must be kept in CCTV control rooms, said the guidelines. Personnel or staff unwell while still on duty should be immediately sent to the nearest hospital for medical examination, it said.
On Thursday, a CISF personnel deployed at a Delhi Metro station tested positive for Covid-19.