Kerala expresses concern over AC coaches for special trains
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said it is not ideal to travel in air-conditioned coaches during the Covid-19 pandemic and asked the railway ministry to deploy non-AC compartments for long-distance travel.
Talking to media in the state capital, Vijayan said in last two months all were talking about problems of air-conditioned environment in the present scenario and the railway move to run AC special trains was a big surprise.
“We have many instances before us. In Punjab many pilgrims who travelled in AC buses during Hazur Sahib pilgrimage were tested positive. Health experts have warned that closed environ is ideal for the virus to spread. We have asked the railways to deploy non-AC coaches,” he said, adding the state has also sought more stops for special trains. Many health experts have also questioned the move to run full AC trains.
“The railways said these trains will be run on the lines of the Rajdhani Express. In that case it has to ensure Rajdhani stoppages. For New Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram train there are only two stops in the state. Since the train is coming from the containment zone passengers are forced to travel a lot on road and it will pose more problems,” he said, adding the chief secretary has taken up these issues with the railways.
On Tuesday the state reported five new cases--four are foreign returnees. Out of 524 cases, 32 are active cases. The CM said at least 70 per cent of cases came from outside the state and foreign countries and secondary infection rate was very low. He said cases will go up as immigrants from the middle-east and people stranded in other parts of the country started flocking the state in large numbers.
“We have requested the centre to make anti-body tests compulsory for the evacuees from the middle-east. Some of them are coming with symptoms and they pose problems to other travellers. We have been insisting for tests for quite some time,” he said.