COVID-19: 1,072 from first Rajdhani screened, scanned and sent to home quarantine
As they proceeded to their designated exits, the passengers rued the absence of coolies as all of them dragged their own luggage out of the rly station
Over 1,000 people alighted at 8.45 am on Thursday at Mumbai Central from the first New Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express to arrive in the city since the lockdown started. As they proceeded to their designated exits, passengers rued the absence of coolies as they dragged their luggage outside.
Those who did not have transport of their own were stamped and dispatched to their homes in city suburbs and to Pune and Kolhapur in a fleet of waiting BEST and ST (state transport) buses.
Right after alighting from the train, the 1,072 passengers were queued up at a one-metre distance from each other. First, the luggage was sanitised at platform entry points by the Mumbai fire brigade, further at the lobby, BMC and railway doctors thermally screened the passengers and stamped them for home-quarantine.
Those with symptoms were stamped for institutional quarantine, with names, numbers and other details verified. Then the passengers were segregated as per the mode of transport — those with private transport left from one exit and those needing public transport left via another exit.
"The BEST undertaking had lined up around 30 buses to various destinations in Mumbai and they were charged as per the regular distance fare," BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade said.
"The MSRTC had sent eight buses to Mumbai Central for the passengers this morning. Of these, three went to Palghar, three to Kalyan and Bhiwandi, one to Pune and one to Kolhapur," MSRTC spokesperson Abhijeet Bhosale said.
Sr citizens face difficulty
Many senior citizens had to face problems due to the non-availability of coolies at the station and had to carry their own luggage.
Some of the passengers who arrived on Thursday had been to New Delhi for work, as tourists, for weddings when the lockdown hit.
Srinivasan Swamy, 81, was helped by a passenger and his assistant after his wheelchair got stuck
Srinivasan Swamy, 81, who resides at Matunga's Ram Mandir, had been to Rishikesh for a ritual and continued to stay there amid the lockdown. Swamy uses a wheelchair and always has an assistant to help him. As he was coming out of the station, his wheelchair got stuck in an uneven portion of the road and a passenger from the train helped remove it.
Navi Mumbai resident, 52-year-old Sajid Ali Khan's one hand was paralysed, but he had to manage with the luggage alone. A car had come to take him home but it was not allowed to come near the station premises and Khan had to walk to it. "I went to Farukhabad to attend a wedding. Then the lockdown took place. There was a coolie at New Delhi to carry the luggage but there is no one here."
Sajid Ali Khan's one hand was paralysed and it trembled as he hauled his luggage out of the station. Pic/ Bipin Kokate
Ghatkopar residents Anil Mehta, 65 and his sister Anju Khandpur, 68 were to go to Sri Lanka via a New Delhi-based travel company and had to board a flight from there. While the trip got cancelled, the duo stayed at a relative's place. The 10-day Sri Lanka package had cost them `57,000 each, which has not been refunded. "There was too much congestion on the train. The facility is only for us to reach Mumbai. Once out of the train, we have to manage taking all this luggage by ourselves," Mehta said.
"No facilities were available on the train and there was too much crowd," Khandpur said.
Mahim resident Rais Ahamd Ansari, 81, had gone for a trip to Rampur, Uttar Pradesh. "I used to work in the furniture industry. I am retired now. I am used to travelling a lot. I stayed at a relative's place during the lockdown. I am happy to be back," Ansari said.
Western Railway chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar said that they made arrangements like those at the airport, and in the absence of coolies, had made elaborate arrangements by providing more than 100 trollies for commuters along with thermal scanners.
All passengers were thermally screened on arrival
WR officials said the special train will get one additional AC II Tier coach from May 15 from Mumbai and from May 16 from New Delhi.
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