With the alarming rise in the number of cases across India, the Indian Railways has decided to impose a fine of Rs 500 on anyone without a mask within the premises and inside trains.
In a circular issued on Saturday, the Railways said that a penalty will also be charged for spitting on the premises or any act of a similar nature to discourage unhygienic practices endangering public health.
The standard operating procedures for the movement of trains were introduced by the Railways May 11, last year. It advised all passengers to wear facemask at the entry during the travel.
Besides facemask, other Covid-19 protocols include maintaining social distancing, temperature screening at the entry and exit of stations and encouraging passengers to constantly sanitise their hands.
Meanwhile, the security measures have been beefed at stations as well as in trains. RPF /GRP personnel have been deployed to streamline the inflow of passengers and for crowd management. They ensure that the passengers are following the norms, protocols and SOP related to COVID – 19 including maintaining social distancing & wearing of masks, etc besides motivating the passengers for the same while travelling in trains.
Ticket checking has also been intensified to curb unauthorised passengers and to ensure that only bonafide passengers with confirmed reservations are allowed to board the train. All entry and Exit Points of stations are properly manned by the checking staff along with RPF/ GRP personnel.
Regular Announcements, as well as extensive awareness campaigns, are being made on social media platforms and digital screens at stations regarding following of COVID appropriate behaviour by all passengers such as wearing of masks, use sanitisers and handwash and maintaining social distancing, etc.
Sanitisation is being intensified at all common touch areas, offices, lifts, etc.
At present, 1,490 special trains operate on an average every day, apart from the 5,387 suburban services. Besides, 28 special trains are being operated as clones of highly patronise trains with high patronage and 947 passenger services are being operated.
The figures suggest that in April 2021, overall 70% train services have been restored.
The Indian Railways records also suggest the highest-ever loading of 123 2.64 million tons was achieved in financial year 2020-21 despite the pandemic.