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Metro back on track: You can be penalised, even arrested, if you don't wear a mask inside the metro

The total ridership across nine Metro lines stood at 1,28,886 until 7:30 pm on September 11.

Five days after the metro network resumed services, after almost five months on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite several advisories issued by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that masks have to be worn at all times throughout the journey and that passengers should talk less, so as to reduce the spread of the virus, it has been noticed that not many passengers were following the protocol laid down for metro travel.

Keeping this in mind, DMRC has now decided to deploy flying squad teams across all lines to carry out random checks inside the train for violations. It has also warned that in case people are found flouting norms, they can be penalised under Delhi Metro (O&M Act) and may also be handed over to police, if required.

As part of its special drive to deploy flying squad teams across all the Lines to randomly check inside trains for any kind of violations and counsel people to refrain from doing so for their own and everyone’s safety, DMRC on September 11 counselled over 150 passengers and penalised 92 passengers Rs 200 each under section 59 of Delhi Metro O&M Act for creating nuisance “when our teams tried to counsel them for not wearing masks/maintain social distancing during their travel inside trains,” said Dayal.

“Our intention at this time, when metro services are yet to be made fully operational, is to advice and counsel them in adopting these norms with a positive attitude than merely going punitive,” said Anuj Dayal, Executive Director, Corporate Communications, DMRC.

It must be remembered that on September 2, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri while announcing that metro services would be resumed in a graded manner had said that passengers will have to follow preventive measures against COVID-19 such as maintaining social distancing and wearing face mask but emphasised that the focus all along would be on ‘review and caution’.

“The emphasis on all this has to be on review and caution. We are clear in our minds that this opening up in a graded and calibrated manner will need to be reviewed if we find that the resumption of operations is not resulting in social distancing, either at metro stations or there is crowding or trains are getting congested in a manner which should be avoided,” Puri had told reporters.