Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that if a final decision to resume train operations across the country is not taken by Tuesday, then it would be impossible to implement SOPs after that.
“If a decision is not taken by Tuesday, it will be difficult to resume railways operation since Eid is less than a week away,” Rashid said.
The minister said that if a decision is reached today, the public will be notified. “If we are allowed to resume train operations after Tuesday it will not be possible to implement SOPs,” Rasheed noted.
Separately DS Lahore said they would resume train operations across the country as soon as the green signal is received.
“Thirty trains from four provinces will become operational as soon as we have the go-ahead,” he said. “No passenger will be allowed to enter the station without taking any safety precautions. Passengers have been asked to make sure they are wearing face masks, gloves and have sanitizers.”
He said that social distancing guidelines will be strictly followed. “The railway staff has been issued directions to strictly follow SOPs. Vending owners have also been told to take strict care of keeping their stalls cleans.”
A day earlier, the railways minister had appealed to Prime Minister Imran Khan to allow the resumption of rail operations ahead of Eid, saying that delays may result in a worsening of the economic crisis.
If no decision is taken by the incumbent government in the coming week, the railways authorities will not be able to control the rush at train stations across the country ahead of Eid, he had warned.
“People have made advance bookings worth Rs240 million because of Eid-ul-Fitr and are constantly asking us to resume train services,” the minister had said, adding that after the coming week, railways will have to return payments even though it is already going through a severe crisis and a default would be unbearable for the institution.
The federal minister went on to add that people who have booked tickets in advance will be given priority as soon as train services are resumed in the country.
Referring to precautionary measures against the contagious coronavirus, Rashid had said that trains have already been disinfected and briefing to the staff members regarding the issued SOPs had also been given.
“We do realise that resumption of train services will multiply our responsibilities in terms of ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers. However, we are ready to take up our duties,” he had said.