A health worker takes a nasal swab from a passenger for Covid-19 test at Guwahati Railway Station, amid the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, in Guwahati on April 17. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi, April 17 (IANS): In view of the rising Covid cases across the country, Indian Railways on Saturday said that it will impose a fine of up to Rs 500 on the passengers for not wearing face masks in the railway premises or during the travel in trains, for a period of six months.
In an letter to all the General Managers of Railway zones on Saturday, Executive Director of Passenger Marketing Neeraj Sharma said, "Indian Railways is taking various measures to contain the spread of the resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic, in accordance with the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Home Affairs from time to time. One of the specific guideline is to wear masks in order to contain the spread of the pandemic."
Sharma also said that the Standard operating procedure (SOP) for movement of trains as brought by Indian Railways on May 11, 2020 says that "it should be advised to all passengers that they shall be wearing face cover or masks at entry and during travel".
"In view of Covid-19 situation, controlling spitting and act of similar nature due to any person not wearing face mask and entering railway premises (including trains), is important to avoid creation of unclean or unhygienic conditions which may cause danger to life or public health.
"Accordingly, to prevent spitting and act of similar nature and thus to ensure wearing of face masks or face cover by all persons at railway premises (including trains), fines (up to Rs 500) under Indian Railways (Penalties for activities affecting cleanliness at railway premises) Rules 2012 shall be imposed by railway officials authorised for this purpose, from persons not wearing face mask or cover in railway premises including trains," it said.
Sharma in his order said that railways may take action with immediate effect for a period of "six months" till further instructions issued in this regard.
"This issues with the concurrence of Finance Directorate of Ministry of Railways," he added.
On Saturday, India recorded over 2.3 lakh Covid cases. India has been recording over two lakh cases of Covid for the three consecutive days.
The national transporter is currently operating 70 per cent of its passenger train services across the country.