Pakistan Railways is considering resuming passenger train service partially from May 10. Reason being that there are increasing public transport issues and dire need to provide people with an affordable travel facility who wish to celebrate Eid with their families located in different parts of the country.
However, the PPP-led Sindh government has opposed this step and warned the Centre against taking such a decision that can lead to further spread of the novel coronavirus.
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Sindh Transport Minister Awais Shah said that the proposed step by the federal government to restore train service can be disastrous considering the serious advice by health specialists for social distancing.
He said, “The resumption of train service would invite crowd at stations which may become hotspots of the coronavirus transmission.”
Adding, “The federal government should be more worried about people’s health and lives instead of earning money and generating businesses. The federal government has already failed in effective enforcement of lockdown which led to a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. Now the move to resume train service would further complicate the situation.”
Sind has warned that this step can aggravate the situation and further spread the novel coronavirus.
A letter issued by the Ministry of Railways to the PR Lahore headquarters-based authorities read, “The passenger train operation is likely to revive very soon [tentatively May 10]. In this regard, the secretary/chairman railways have directed that in order to ensure safe and COVID-19-free operation, a full dress rehearsal according to SOPs may be carried out at the earliest. This rehearsal will ensure operational readiness without compromising the safety criteria for the passengers in the wake of Covid-19.”
PR chief executive officer Dost Ali Leghari following this letter issued directives to all the divisional superintendents (DSs) in this regard.
He said, “The PR is considering the restoration of passenger traffic operations tentatively from May 10 subject to the approval of the competent authority. To ensure the efficient, safe train operation, the SOPs need to be implemented in their true letter and spirit. Kindly ensure all arrangements complete and submit a certification in this context by May 8 positively.”