Even as the first train to Kerala pulled out of the railway station at New Delhi, the district administration authorities of Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram geared up to receive the passengers. Arrangements similar to the one in place at the airports have been made at all the three railway stations.
According to Agriculture Minister V S Sunilkumar, the process begins as soon as the Railway hands over the passenger chart to the district administration. “Unlike the situation at the airport, we will be dealing with a much larger number of people at the railway stations. In Ernakulam itself, we are expecting more than 500 people to step off the train,” he said.
“Once the passenger chart comes in, the district administrations will be able to discern who all are coming in. Also, their destination. Every person has to undergo back-to-back health check-ups before they get the all-clear,” said the minister. At the three stations, all the protocols prescribed in the GO will be followed to the dot. “The district collectors have been given the authority to initiate necessary steps as and when the situation demands. Those showing symptoms will be immediately sent to isolation at the Medical College Hospitals,” he said.
According to the minister, at the arriving station, the details of the passengers will be verified. “Pick-up vehicles, preferably ones with the fibreglass partition, for arriving passengers will be permitted to reach the railway station at a designated place. Only the driver will be permitted to pick up the passenger. The driver will also be put under home quarantine for 14 days,” he said. KSRTC bus services will be operated from the railway station to the designated space where pickup vehicles are parked.
“The district administration where the railway stations are located will be making arrangements for operating KSRTC buses to other districts to drop the arriving passengers,” said the minister. The district administration has been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure the persons go into home quarantine. If not, the persons will be sent to institutional quarantine,” said Sunil kumar.
Five squads with approximately 20 members, including doctors, nurses and officials from the Health Department, will be posted. “The number of exits will also be restricted and those showing symptoms will be taken to the isolation facilities through the back entrance,” said the minister. According to him, those opting for hotels for quarantine have to pay for their stay and can go to only those establishments approved by the Health Department.
Meanwhile, a railway official said the district administration authorities have insisted on an exit pass for those leaving by trains from the state. “These passes are to be procured from the respective district administration of the stations from where the passengers are boarding the train. Only if the passes are shown at the station will the passengers be allowed to board the train. This is to ensure that people are not breaking quarantine and trying to leave,” said the official.