File photo of New Delhi railway station
File photo of New Delhi railway station|IANS

Indian Railways constitute Rapid Response team for COVID-19

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, March 18, 2020

Indian Railways has constituted a Rapid Response team for COVID-19 and an online dashboard will soon become operational for real-time monitoring of measures taken to prevent the coronavirus spreading.

These measures were disclosed at a review meeting by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on the progress of preparedness of Indian Railways to tackle the COVID threat. The meeting was attended by Chairman, Railway Board, Members of the Railway Board besides all the General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers from all the zones who linked up through a video conferencing.

The Railway Board Chairman briefed the Minister on the measures taken as a part of the national efforts in fighting the spread of the virus. These include the creation of quarantine facilities all over the railway network for any eventuality, upscaling the cleanliness and hygiene of all the railway trains and station premises.

Dissemination of various advisories being issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Department of Personnel and Training regarding social distancing, minimizing unnecessary travel, observation of infection-related preventive measures and other operational measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Help Desks at various stations will be made available in association with State Governments. Cleanliness of coaches, toilets, pantry cars and all passenger interface points would be strictly adhered to and adequate availability of handwashing material and water to be ensured in trains, platforms and offices.

Meetings involving mass gathering, training, conferences would be discouraged. Adequate availability of gadgets to the staff involved in screening and cleaning, wherever required, is being ensured.

Regular announcements are being done on PA system of railway stations and trains to sensitize the public about various Dos & Don’ts highlighting keeping hands clean by frequent washing of hands, maintaining social distance, covering the mouth while sneezing and coughing and precautions to be taken if one has running fever- (don’t travel and report immediately to the doctor) and not spitting anywhere on the rail premises,

Instructions have been given to all stakeholders to avoid unnecessary crowding at railway stations. It has been advised that the DRMs may review the situation over railway stations and raise the price of Platform Ticket to Rs 50 wherever deemed necessary, to avoid overcrowding at stations.

The Minister directed that some additional measures should be immediately taken to continuously monitor the work. It involves the creation of Online Dashboard for better coordination between officials of Ministry and various Zonal Railways. The day-to-day monitoring of COVID 19 preparedness activities and their progress should be done through this dashboard.

The Minister said a COVID-19 Rapid response team should be constituted comprising six Executive Directors from Railway Board to coordinate the efforts of Indian Railways across all the zones. This team will coordinate all COVID-19 preparedness activities. One nodal officer from each zone will serve as a point of contact for all COVID-19 preparedness measures and will be in constant touch with the COVID-19 Response team of Railway Board.

Advisories should be issued to passengers to avoid non-essential train journeys and to ensure that they do not have a running fever while they are commencing the journey. At any point of the journey if the passenger feels that he is having fever, he can contact the Railway Staff for medical attention and further assistance.