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Thermal scanners, sanitisers: Delhi’s metros, malls get ready

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The Centre may well be quite far from allowing the metro services and malls to resume operation, but the Delhi Metro is warming up with signal testing and trial runs with an aim to find a simple answer to — “how to maintain social distancing in a service that otherwise witnesses clogged coaches and swamped station premises.” Meanwhile, malls in the NCR region, which will be allowed to open from June 8 in all the non containment zones, also have started their plans.

In Delhi metro stations, a significantly lower number of passengers will be allowed to enter and the carrying capacity in coaches will be 50 per cent of its regular one. While all metro stations and their elevators have been sanitized and signals being tested, once the actual nod comes, the passengers will be greeted with a thermal scanner at each and every metro station that comes under the DMRC ambit. They will be allowed to proceed only if they don’t show fever. For that matter any passengers with visible symptoms like sneezing or coughs will also be stopped to make his or her journey by the Delhi Metro, IANS has reliably learnt.

Once inside, stickers are plastered on every station floor, particularly ahead of the ticket collection counters and escalators, so that each individual keeps a safe distance from the one ahead and behind of him or her. The stickers will be in yellow and red which will have a show mark and read “please stand here”. Even while inside the coach, seats are marked where no one can sit, to allow maintaining social distancing. Metro’s own security will be pressed into action to ensure passengers are abiding by the rules.

Meanwhile, like airports, metro passengers may also be requested to keep their metal belongings and purse on their carrying bags or in a different tray, said a DMRC official. Plying without an Aarogya Setu App on the mobile phone is going to be a non negotiable thing. It was a suggestion that came from the CISF, actually when the reopening strategy was being worked upon. If any does not have a smartphone, he or she will be asked to call 1921 and press buttons to select answers according to the queries on the automated system. Those who will pass satisfactorily will only be allowed to move ahead in their journey.

Extra human resources both in terms of the CISF personnel and DMRC’s own security guards will be deployed in mega stations like Rajeev Chowk, Mandi house, Huda City Centre, Noida Botanical Garden, Central Secretariat among others to deal with the relatively extra rush. One such trail run has already been conducted with dummy passengers to see how far DMRC can implement its vision on the ground.

While, allowing metro service operation is a decision which will be taken at the third phase, that too after taking the ground situation into consideration, malls will open by June 8 itself and many malls have already started working on how to go about it, even as the SOP from the Health Ministry is due. One such mall in Noida’s Logix City Centre which houses not just Noida’s biggest pub, but also its only IMAX theatre.

An official working at the mall told IANS on the condition of anonymity that thermal scanning and providing hand sanitizer at the gate is the first thing to begin with. All stores individually will also be encouraged to keep sanitizer at the cash counters of respective showrooms. Stickers are likely to come up like in metro to help people stand afar from each other, ahead of the entry gate, lifts, escalators and movie theatre entrance in the mall. The mall already has the Big Bazaar running as it comes under essential services, where each and every buyer are thermally scanned, all these while.

While its not sure, whether all malls will open on June 8 itself, given many shops may still be apprehensive, but efforts are afoot in all major places like the DLF Mall of India in Noida, Select City Walk in Saket, DLF Promenade in Vasant Kunj to slowly open up business, but with adequate precautions. Many of the malls are also waiting for the Health Ministry’s SOP that may stipulate how many people can be allowed at a time, into a shopping mall.

Another Noida based mall has said it will start training programs for its staff and security from Monday onwards so they themselves are senstitsed of the rule and make visitors follow it as well.

The residents of Delhi-NCR have been packed up in their houses, working from home, detached from a life that once was dominated by eating out, going to a movie, spending on clothes or taking that metro in a rush hour. With the government’s lockdown 5.0 virtually easing up almost all restrictions, but a few in all the non containment zones, shopping malls, movie theaters inside malls and Delhi Metro are gearing up to give Delhi’s a taste of their old life back, albeit with reasonable precautions.

–IANS

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