Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the resumption of train services will be seen as a big "challenge" for the administration as close to 10,000 stranded citizens could return back to the state till May 25 next.
"Risks will be there, but we will have to resolve the issue within those risks", Sarma said, opining on the debate on whether stranded people should be allowed to return to their native places amid the outbreak.
At the same time, Sarma said that the Jorhat administration is keeping close tabs on the four who had come back from Mumbai via an ambulance bearing a child cancer patient. "We are keeping a close watch on the child. Although he has been tested negative, there is not a 100% guarantee that he will test negative again. Although we are treating the positive patients as positive, we are also looking after the two negative patients as if they are positive in a way, so that a transmission can be averted. The two positive women are doing well; but our primary emphasis is on the child", said Sarma.
In regards to the driver of the vehicle wherein the positive patients had come, Sarma said that the Assam Government had gotten in touch with the West Bengal administration to inform about his positive status. "He said that he would stop at the Siliguri Hospital, but he fled. Maybe he was scared. However, he was intercepted by Police in Bihar's Ara district at the behest of the Assam Police personnel", Sarma said.
It is to be mentioned here that Sarma had gone to Jorhat today along with several top-tier BJP leaders to inaugurate 50 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, a latest addition to the primary health facility in the Upper Assam district.
"Earlier, we had kept 14 ICUs for COVID patients, and ICU facilities had reduced for the general public", Sarma told reporters, adding that the ICUs will now be available for all.
Pleased to inaugurate 50-bed state-of-art, fully functional ICU at Jorhat Medical College & Hospital today with MoS @Pijush_hazarika & MPs @ToponKumarGogo1 & @KamakhyaTasa. Fitted with ventilators & oxygen equipment, it shall bolster our preparedness in fight against #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/GCRJY7SfEc— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 11, 2020
Later, Sarma took to Twitter to express his pleasure at the addition of the ICU beds. "Pleased to inaugurate 50-bed state-of-art, fully functional ICU at Jorhat Medical College & Hospital today with Minister of State Pijush Hazarika and MPs Topon Kumar Gogoi and Kamakhya Tasa. Fitted with ventilators and oxygen equipment, it shall bolster our preparedness in fight against COVID-19", he wrote.
Return of the Indian Railways for Passengers:
The Government of India has intimated that the Indian Railways will once again start operating passenger trains from May 12 onwards. Trains to 15 Indian Cities will be launched on the 12th and train services will soon start operating across the country, said a communique issued by the Ministry of Railways. The Railways will start operaing 15 pairs of trains on return journey basis from the New Delhi Railway Station in the national capital. Trains will operate between Delhi and Mumbai, Howrah (Kolkata), Chennai, Patna, Ranchi, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Bilaspur, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon (Goa), Ahmedabad and Jammu-Tawi. It is noteworthy to mention here that the trains are in addition to the "Shramik Special" trains being operated to ferry stranded migrant labour.
All passenger trains will be run with AC coaches only and with limited stoppages. The fare will be equivalent to the ticket fare that is charged for Rajdhani trains, the ministry added. Further details, including train schedule, will be issued separately in due course, said the statement from the Railways. How to Get Tickets: Tickets for these special passenger trains will only be available on the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website from May 11, 4 pm onwards. No offline tickets will be available at the counter. Passengers will be allowed to enter the station only if they hold a valid ticket and they will also have to wear a proper face cover, such as a mask. They will undergo a check-up at the station and only those who clear the test will be allowed on the train, the Railways said.