Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri has said that the government could take a decision on the resumption of urban Metro transport systems over the next two weeks. Plus, the Centre is reportedly considering restarting the services in a staggered manner to avoid gathering of too many people initially.
“We would take a call on opening Metro (transport) systems over the next two weeks. The standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place. We are ready to open the system but it would be in a staggered manner with limited occupancy, not over 50 per cent capacity for a section of people like government servants, healthcare workers and other essential services,” the minister has said.
The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry wants to reopen Metro systems as it saw significant negative impacts, including huge losses and rising traffic jams on the roads. Exuding confidence, the minister said the “Metro operators are in a state of readiness” and have been testing their systems at regular intervals.
The government is expected to open up all Metro systems in the country simultaneously, and not just in one city. The final decision is likely to be taken when new guidelines are unveiled for unlocking more economic activities towards the end of this month.
It has been reported that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had earlier mentioned that it was ready to open the Delhi Metro but Centre would take the final decision. It is worth mentioning here is that the Delhi Metro has been closed since March 22 when the Union government imposed Janata Curfew to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, rejecting the Opposition’s demand to stall ongoing projects such as the construction of a new Parliament building and a new Central Secretariat and redevelopment of Central Vista, Puri said: “Our Parliament building is in a dilapidated state. We are spending Rs 1,000 crore on rent for government ministries. This criticism is not serious. It is based on incomplete information.”