BENGALURU: Even though the state government made it mandatory for passengers from Kerala and Maharashtra to carry a Covid-negative report, there is a lack of rigorous inspection at the KSR railway station regarding the same. At least 2,000 passengers reach the KSR station daily in the four special trains that arrive from Kerala and Maharashtra.
The health teams led by Medical Officer, Health, BBMP, Dr B Y Nanda, is deputed to carry out checks and conduct tests at the station. A ten-member Government Railway Police team has been provided as support staff since Thursday. All this activity is confined to the concourse area of the station or at its entrance.
A top railway official present at the spot said, “Contrary to the kind of checks that were done during the first wave of Covid, with the Railway staff, the GRP, the Railway Protection Force and the BBMP present at the platform to check every passenger, there is a relaxed approach now.”
Many passengers are not stopped to check for their Covid-negative certificate, he claimed. “There seems to be no compulsion to subject everyone to checks. As a Bengaluru resident, I am extremely concerned about this approach,” he added.
Dr Nanda said that a total of 115 RT-PCR tests have been conducted on Thursday. “There is no need to test passengers who carry a negative certificate,” he said. When asked if the number appeared very low compared to the large number of passengers coming from the two states, the doctor said, “We plan to increase the number of tests also.”
A railway source said, “There was a lockdown in force with only migrant special trains running during the first wave and the RPF was able to provide us with enough personnel. With many trains operating currently, neither they nor the Railways will be able to spare staff.”
BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said there was no mandate that every passenger needs to be checked. “There are many teams carrying out checks at the railway stations. The whole idea is to create an awareness among passengers to travel to Karnataka only when they are Covid-negative,” he said.
A senior railway official in the Bengaluru division said it was up to the railway staff at Kerala and Maharashtra to check passengers when they board the trains at their stations.
“We have alerted them about the state government orders. We are responsible only for passengers boarding within our jurisdiction which is at Salem in Tamil Nadu and our TTEs on board check them,” he said.