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Kolkata Metro resumes services after over five months


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Chennai:

KOLKATA: Metro rail services in Kolkata resumed on Monday after a gap of more than five months, a senior official said.

The regular services were suspended on March 23 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Special trains, however, were run for NEET aspirants and their guardians on Sunday.

"Services have resumed at 8 am and around 3,000 people have commuted in the first two hours," Kolkata Metro Railway General Manager Manoj Joshi told PTI.

"The last trains from the originating stations on both sides will commence their journey at 7 pm and complete it by 8 pm," he said.

Joshi said all safety protocols including social distancing are being followed.

A train is halting at a station for 30 seconds instead of the previous duration of 20 seconds to avoid rush during boarding and deboarding, a Metro Railway spokesperson said.

A total of 110 services are being run on the Noapara- Kavi Subhash line at an interval of 10 minutes during peak hours, she said.

The services will remain suspended on Sundays for the sanitisation of rakes and stations, the spokesperson said.

Commuters can book their tickets online and download the e-passes or use smart cards, she said.

The e-passes mention the departure and destination points along with time slots.

Sandeep Tewary, a middle-aged commuter, said he faced difficulty in downloading the e-pass to board a train at Sovabazar metro station.

Young executives like Aparna Maity, however, felt that the no contact ticketing system is ideal in the present situation.

The Metro Railway has decided to allow a maximum of 400 passengers on a train to avoid over-crowding.

Passengers will have to wear masks covering their mouth and nose and sanitise their hands before boarding a train, another Metro Railway official said.

They will have to undergo thermal screening while entering a station, he said.

Metro Railway authorities urged elderly people and children, besides those with fever, cough and cold, not to undertake the journey.

Special services were run for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) candidates and their guardians between 10 am and 7 pm on the previous day.