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India coronavirus: Huge crowds as train services resume


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India has partially restored train services amid reports of chaos and overcrowding at some stations.
At least 145,000 people will travel in trains on Monday as the country starts to reopen after a prolonged lockdown.
Two hundred trains will now start operations – up from the existing 30 that are currently running.
But maintaining social distancing and cleanliness is proving to be a difficult task as huge crowds gathered outside some stations.
India’s mammoth railway network usually carries 25 million passengers every day.
India’s ministry of home affairs has issues specific guidelines for the smooth operation of train services. They say that all passengers will have to be screened, social distancing must be followed at the station and in trains and only passengers who have confirmed tickets will be allowed to travel.
But some stations reported chaotic scenes as officials struggled to enforce these guidelines. BBC Telugu reported that people were standing much too close to each other at Secunderabad railway station in the southern Telangana state.
“Railway staff and police didn’t allow passengers to go inside the station until at least one hour before the scheduled departure, citing physical distancing measures. This led to some chaos outside the railway station as a large number of passengers had gathered and there was no physical distance maintained. Police later arrived and organised the queues,” The BBC’s Sharath Behara says.
BBC Hindi’s Salman Ravi reporting from Delhi, said strict social distancing was being followed when passengers boarded trains, and all of them wore masks.

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