DMRC suspends breath analyser test for drivers due to Covid-19
To contain the spread of Covid-19, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Wednesday ordered that train operators will not have to take the breath analyser test when it resumes services.
“As a precautionary measure to control the spread of Covid-19, breath analyser tests have been temporarily suspended. However, all train operators will be required to submit a declaration before they sign in for duty, till this practice stays in place,” Anuj Dayal, executive director, corporate communications, DMRC, said.
According to the order, train operators will have to declare that they have not used any “alcoholic drink, sedative, narcotic or stimulant drug or preparation within eight hours before commencement of their duty or during it”.
A breath analyser test, a DMRC official said, is crucial for the safety of train operations. It is mandatory, as per Section 29(5) of the Metro Rail General Rules, for train operators to undergo the test before starting their duty.
The official said supervisors will conduct surprise checks to ensure operators do not flout the rules.
Recently, three DMRC staff had tested positive for Covid-19 --- the contagious disease that has affected more than 15,000 people in Delhi and killed over 300.
This is one of the many precautionary measures the Metro is taking to protect its staff and commuters, once operations restart, from Covid-19, the official said.
Delhi Metro services were suspended on March 22, even before the first phase of the nationwide lockdown was implemented from March 25.
In mid-March, DMRC employees had written to Mangu Singh, the managing director of DMRC, requesting the immediate discontinuation of the breath analyser test for train operators because of the Covid-19 outbreak. But no decision could be taken as Metro operations were halted.
More than 1,500 train operators work with DMRC.
Among other measures planned by DMRC to contain the spread of Covid-19 is thermal screening of commuters.
Dayal said, “We have procured around 800 thermal guns/screening machines; they will be in place in time for the commencement of services. The screening process may involve both DMRC and CISF personnel, depending on the size of the station and the flow of passengers.”