Aarogya Setu App a must for rail travel
In a subsequent tweet at midnight, the railway ministry said: ”It is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey.”Updated: May 13, 2020, 01:35 IST
It is mandatory for passengers to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones before commencing their train journey, the railway ministry said on Tuesday as services connecting 15 destinations with New Delhi resumed, reversing an earlier guideline.
In guidelines for the resumption of passenger train services issued on Monday, the ministry said it advised passengers to download the Covid-19 tracking app. But in a subsequent tweet at midnight, the ministry said: ”It is mandatory for passengers to download Aarogya Setu app in their mobile phones, before commencing their journey.”
According to officials aware of the development, a direction to the effect was issued by the home ministry after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met state chief ministers in a video conference on Monday.
The rationale, the officials said, was to ensure that only asymptomatic people board the trains. “It is assumed that those who are booking tickets for Rajdhani (Express) fares will be carrying smartphones,” an official said, requesting anonymity.
Many questioned the feasibility of implementing the guideline at railway stations, also noting that not all passengers may be carrying smartphones.
According to another senior official who did not want to be named, passengers were screened at the entry of the railway stations on Tuesday and most had downloaded the app. But those who had not and did not show symptoms of the disease were also allowed to board the trains.
“At the station, passengers were going through thermal screening and we were checking all their symptoms; even those who did not have the app and turned out asymptomatic were not stopped,” the official said.
A similar instruction mandating the app may also be issued for passengers boarding flights when they resume, according to draft standard operating procedures sent by the civil aviation ministry to airlines and airport operators for feedback. The Centre has also mandated the app for Indians who are being evacuated from abroad.
Passengers coming to Delhi by trains do not need to be quarantined if they are asymptomatic or mandatorily download the app, guidelines issued by the Delhi government said. They will be allowed to go home and requested to download the app “if possible”, it said.