Aarogya Setu app mandatory for passengers on Special Rajdhani trains
The Aarogya Setu app has been made mandatory for passengers travelling by the Special Rajdhani trains commencing from today, sources told The Indian Express. Passengers who don't have it will be asked to download even after reaching station, they added.
A Twitter post from the Railway Ministry late last night also mentioned that downloading the app is compulsory for passengers before commencing their journey. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines for passengers availing these train services made no mention of it and the Press Information Bureau statement on Monday had only "advised" them to use the contact tracing app.
The change in stance could be a result of what transpired in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's virtual meeting with chief ministers as several of them thought even partial resumption of inter-state movement — be it air or rail — was a bad idea. Bihar Chief Minister Nitisk Kumar, in fact, said starting rail services "was a mistake" and that his opinion should have been taken since he was a "former Railways Minister".
The trains will run to full capacity, while leaving it up to the passengers to maintain social distancing on board, and to states to decide the protocol on arrival.
Within 20 minutes of the bookings opening Monday, the Howrah-New Delhi train was sold out. In no time at all, it was fully booked for the next five days. The same was the story with the Mumbai-New Delhi route. "By 9.15 pm, 30,000 PNRs had been generated and reservations made for more than 54,000 passengers," a Railway spokesperson said.
As reported earlier, the passengers on board the trains, which will run after a gap of 51 days, would be required to bring own food and blankets, reach the station 90 minutes prior to departure, and keep their masks on.
Passengers will be given hand sanitisers on entry and exit and allowed to enter stations only if they don't display symptoms and clear thermal screening. This is why the direction to reach the station 90 minutes before departure.
While the 15 trains have been designated Special Rajdhanis, with premium fares and speed, pre-packed snacks, biscuits and water bottles will be available on board only against payment, like in budget airlines. The food charge hence won't be built into the fares, unlike in Rajdhanis. Since some of the journeys are longer than 24 hours and the lockdown means stalls at stations will be shut, officials said passengers are advised to bring food from home.
(Inputs and image from indianexpress.com)
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