New Delhi: In a major relief to the passengers planning to travel in the Tejas Express trains, the Indian Railway Catering And Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) after almost seven months is all set to restart the operation of the two trains -- Lucknow-New Delhi and Ahmedabad-Mumbai from October 17.
The IRCTC spokesperson in a statement said that for the service of people and for catering to the growing passenger demand due to the festive season, both the Tejas Express trains were expected to restart operations from October 17.
The IRCTC had suspended the operations of these two trains from March 19 in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The spokesperson said that the operations of these two trains will start after getting approval from the Railway Ministry. He said the catering arm of the national transporter was making all round preparations to ensure that the trains once started match the expectation of the people in terms of levels of services and safety and health protocols amidst the ongoing pandemic.
"Every alternate seat will be kept vacant following the social distancing norms for the initial period," the spokesperson said. He said that a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) observing Covid-19 protocol has been issued to ensure safety of the passengers.
"Passengers will not be allowed to exchange their seats once seated. Use of face covers/masks will be mandatory for passengers and staff. All travellers will install Arogya Setu app and the same shall be shown as and when demanded," he said, adding that detailed instructions will be given to the passengers at the time of booking of the tickets.
He further said that all the passengers will be provided a Covid-19 protection kit, which will contain a bottle of hand sanitizers, one mask, one face shield and one pair of gloves. "All the passengers will go through thermal screening and hand sanitization process before entering the coach," he said.
Keeping in mind the pandemic, the coach, including the pantry areas and lavatories will be thoroughly disinfected at regular intervals. "The luggage and baggage of the passengers will be disinfected by a staff deputed for this purpose. Cleaning and regular disinfection of the frequently touched surface inside the coach will be done. The service trays and trolleys will also be disinfected," he said.
The spokesperson said that the IRCTC has conducted an extensive training programme to educate and train its team of employees of the Tejas Trains to manage the operations of the trains and provide services according to the 'new normal' amid the Covid-19 pandemic and to follow the SOP ensuring passenger safety.
The IRCTC launched its first Tejas Express train between Lucknow-New Delhi last year, while it started the second train between Mumbai-Ahmedabad earlier this year. The IRCTC also launched its Kashi Mahakal Express between Varanasi-Indore in February this year.