The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is preparing fresh Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for its security operations at Delhi Metro Stations once the lockdown is lifted, and the measures may include contactless frisking, the use of Aarogya Setu app to identify Covid-19 patients entering security gates, and a reduction in passengers in train coaches, officials familiar with the development said.
For its own security personnel who come in direct contact with millions of passengers every day at Metro stations and airports, CISF plans sanitisation of hands after clearing every two or three people, personal protection equipment (PPE) for all staff, and sanitisation of X-ray machines and other equipment on a regular basis.
Suburban rail services and air travel are prohibited at the moment to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. The government has not yet come up with guidelines on when these services will resume, and it remains unclear if they will be operational even when the second phase of the national lockdown ends on May 3. But officials believe that additional precautions will be needed, whenever the ban is lifted, and it can no longer be “business as usual”.
Rajesh Ranjan, CISF’s director general, said the key objective was to ensure that both security personnel as well as commuters were protected from the infection, but with minimal inconvenience, and without compromising on safety. “We’re looking at changing the process for access at Metro stations. The SOPs are in final stages and will be sent to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) soon,” he said.
On contactless frisking, Ranjan said, “We are exploring how to use contactless frisking as much as we can. However, it will not be possible to make it fully contactless and pat-down searches will depend on person to person.”
He added that the businesses inside metro stations will need to have extra access control for their employees. CISF personnel will also be trained about the additional personal safety measures they have to follow, on duty, and after going back to their barracks.
For Metro services, the proposed SOP entails reducing the number of passengers by at least half in each coach so that social distancing measures are followed.
At metro stations, the CISF is considering suggesting to the government that commuters be asked to download Aarogya Setu app before coming to the metro station for a colour coded risk analysis to identifying Covid-19 patients. All CISF personnel across the country have already been told to download the Aarogya Setu application. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently encouraged citizens to download the app, and even mentioned the possibility of it being used as an “e-pass” for travel and mobility.
The Aarogya Setu is one of several contact tracing applications in use across the world. Every time two people who have installed the application come within metres of each other, the application creates a record that can later be pulled in case of these individuals develops Covid-19 and the other needs to be warned off being infected.
The SOPs pertaining to maintaining proper queues and distancing, and the use of PPEs, will also be followed in other government installations where CISF is deployed, the second official said.
The force is augmenting its present stock of face masks, gloves, alcohol-based sanitisers, and other PPE kits so that they have sufficient numbers available for an initial period of three months.