Constitute rapid response team to stop COVID-19: Goyal

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday directed to constitute rapid response team comprising six Executive Directors from Railway Board to coordinate the efforts of the Indian Railways across all zones.

The decision to constitute a six-member Rapid response team was taken at the meeting over the railways preparation to contain the spread of COVID-19 in India.

Goyal, in the meeting with the Railway Board Members and other senior zonal officials through the video conferencing, said, “Constitution of a COVID-19 rapid response team comprising six Executive Directors from Railway Board to coordinate the efforts of Railways across all the zones.”

He said this team will coordinate all COVID-19 preparedness activities. “One nodal officer from each zone will serve as contact person for all preparedness measures and will be in constant touch with the response team of the Railway Board,” the Minister said.

Goyal further asked the railway officials to create an “online dashboard” for better coordination between officials of the Ministry and various zones. “Through this dashboard, online monitoring of day to day COVID-19 preparedness activities and their progress is to be done,” he said.

He also asked the officials to issue advisories to passengers to avoid non-essential train journeys and to ensure that they do not have running fever while they are commencing the journey.

“At any point of journey if passenger feels that he is having a fever, he can contact the Railway staff for medical attention and further assistance,” Goyal instructed the officials.

During the meeting the Railway Board members also informed the minister about the precautionary measures taken by Indian Railways to stop the spread of COVID-19.

V.K. Yadav, Chairman, Railway Board, briefing the minister, said that the national transporter is preparing the quarantine facilities all over the Railway network for any eventuality, upscaling the cleanliness and hygiene of all the trains and station premises.

He also informed the minister about the help desks at various stations in association with state governments being made available, cleanliness of coaches, toilets, pantry cars and all passenger interface points strictly adhered to and adequate availability of hand washing material and water has to be ensured in trains, platforms and offices.

Yadav told Goyal that adequate availability of gadgets involved in screening and cleaning, wherever required, is being ensured. Regular announcements are being made at railway stations and in trains to sensitize the public about various do's and don'ts for COVID-19, he said.

He also informed that instructions have been given to all stakeholders to avoid unnecessary crowding at railway stations.

Yadav said that the DRMs have been advised to review the situation and raise the price of platform ticket to Rs 50 wherever deemed necessary, to avoid overcrowding at stations.

On Tuesday, Indian Railways cancelled 85 trains between March 18 to April 1 and platform ticket prices were increased to Rs 50 at 250 stations across the country.



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