West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today said that Metros will be allowed to run from 1 July on the condition that sale of tickets is restricted to the total seat capacity. The lockdown in the state, with relaxations will continue till 31 July with complete lockdown from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m instead of 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. Public gatherings, religious congregations and political rallies will not be allowed.
In view of a sharp spike in coronavirus cases across the country, the state will write to the Centre to allow international flights only once every 15 days and to impose a bar on domestic flights and special trains from hotspot states. Ruling out a hike in bus fares as demanded by private bus operators,
Miss Banerjee announced a subsidy amounting to Rs 27 crore for private buses and mini buses as commuters are facing trouble due to shortage of public transport facilities. The state government will provide Rs 15,000 per month to 6,000 such buses for three months. Currently, 2,500 out of 6,000 private buses and mini buses are plying, along with 1,600 government buses.
Another 500 government buses will hit the roads from 1 July, she said. Stressing on the need to restrict international flights and domestic flights from hotspot states, Miss Banerjee said that no heath screening is being done at Kolkata airport nor are international passengers being sent to the paid quarantine centres.
We cannot allow the infection to spread due to such negligence, she said. Miss Banerjee said: “Metro has the facility to control the entry of passengers. If tickets are issued such that only enough passengers to occupy the number of seats available are allowed to board the trains then the Metro can be allowed to ply from 1 July. The state government will discuss the issue with Metro authorities.”
The 21 July Matryr’s Day rally would not be organised in the usual form this time and a meeting will be held on 3 July to discuss the new format wherein the meeting will be held keeping with social distancing norms, she said. Miss Banerjee said that a revised rate chart for treatment of Covid patients has been issued to the private hospitals and congratulated some of the hospitals for slashing their rates.
She also asked private school authorities not to raise fees or charge fees under certain heads, but opposed the demand among some sections for a complete fee waiver.