NMRC to start Aqua Line metro from Monday, but difficult to keep track of commuters from containment areaUpdated: Sep 03, 2020, 23:36 IST
Though the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) is making all preparations to resume services on the Aqua Line from Monday, as per directions from the Centre, officials said it would be difficult to check whether commuters are coming from containment zones. Officials said as per the current plan, security personnel will be deployed to check the temperature of commuters and only those will be allowed to travel whose temperature is normal.
They added that NMRC may introduce some changes as needed in coming days, based on the trends in ridership and passenger behaviour that they see.
NEEDS DISTRICT ADMIN QUOTE ON METRO REOPENING AND CONTAINMENT ZONES AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO PREPARE
Gautam Budh Nagar on Thursday recorded 138 coronavirus (Covid-19) positive cases while 86 patients were discharged after treatment.
The official data shared by the administration revealed that there are 1,163 active cases in the district.
Containment zones are decided by the district administration which sees how many positive patients are there in any given locality before taking a call. Up till Thursday, Gautam Budh Nagar had 289 containment zones, according to the health department.
Sandhya Sharma, deputy general manager, NMRC, said: “The security persons will be able to check people’s temperature and allow only those whose temperature is under the prescribed limits. We may introduce some changes once the system starts working,” she said.
The NMRC has placed stickers to guide commuters to stand in queues and maintain social distancing norms. This will be applicable inside and outside the trains as well. At the entry gates, Covid safety messages will be displayed on the LED screens inside the trains.
According to NMRC guidelines, commuters entering the premises will have to apply sanitisers on their hands, which will be made available to them after temperature screening. To ensure adequate social distancing, passengers will be advised to stand in queues at designated spaces by visible markings one metre apart at frisking zones, platforms and inside the train.
Data from the corporation shows that ridership was lower in the third week of March this year, just before the lockdown was implemented nationwide, and the outbreak was rearing its head in the region as well as the country. The district recorded its first coronavirus case on March 5.
On March 2, 3 and 4, the Aqua Line had recorded 26,079, 26000, and 24,591 commuters, respectively, against March 16, 17 and 18’s 19,064, 17,720 and 16,007.
Sharma said that some private organisations and MNCs had advised their employees to work from home and academic institutions had also closed, which resulted in low footfall in the last week of March 2020. She said, however, that she is not sure about what kind of footfall numbers to expect.
“We hope gradually the system will be in place. But we are not sure about the number of commuters in the next few weeks. We have to wait and see,” Sharma said.
Medical experts, though, say there is a risk of infection in the metro as people from all over the NCR would travelling in the trains.
According to N K Sharma, president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Noida, it is possible people from containment zones may end up on the trains. “The Aqua Line connects Noida to Greater Noida while the Blue Line connects Noida to Dwarka. A number of people from various parts of the national capital region would take metro, once it starts. This may lead to spread of infection. Officials must check temperature, Aarogya Setu App and also seek a Covid negative report from the commuters to allow their entry,” he said.
Dr Deepak Ohri, chief medical officer, meanwhile, said in Gautam Budh Nagar, teams of health department and police keep a check on containment zones. “The teams try to ensure that people do not venture out unnecessarily from containment zones. The restrictions would keep in check metro commuters,” he said.