The Metro rail services in Delhi should be resumed in a phased manner on an experimental basis as the coronavirus situation has improved, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reiterated on Sunday, adding the national capital must be treated differently than other major cities where the Metro services have been halted because of the pandemic.
"I have requested the Centre that Delhi should be treated differently. The coronavirus situation is improving in Delhi. If they do not want to run Metro trains in other cities, let it be so. But, in Delhi, Metro train services should be started in a phased manner, on a trial basis," he said, while interacting with traders, entrepreneurs and businessmen via video conferencing.
"We have raised this issue before the Centre many times. I hope the Centre will soon take a decision in this regard," he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
The Delhi Metro trains, which used to ferry lakhs of passengers on a daily basis, have not been functioning since March 22, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the first phase of the coronavirus lockdown to arrest the growth of the highly infectious illness.
In their guidelines later, the Centre has allowed most of the businesses and activities to open across the country, but it didn't allow the resumption of the Metro services.
When PM Modi had asked for suggestions from the Chief Ministers of all states on what relaxations they wanted in the lockdown imposed by the Centre, Mr Kejriwal, in his list of demands, had urged him to allow Metro services for those involved in essential activities.
Delhi, which had been reporting over 3,000 cases daily during late June, now reports between 500-1,500 cases every day. The Delhi government says they are now equipped with enough hospital beds and other health infrastructure to tackle Covid patients.
The national capital now has attained 90 per cent recovery rate, which is among the highest in the country.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Sunday said it is now ready to resume operation.
"The DMRC is prepared to commence operations whenever directed by the government. All necessary guidelines to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus shall be implemented and all efforts shall be made to make travel safe for our valued commuters," Anuj Dayal, Executive Director of the DMRC, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
With inputs from agencies