The Konkan Railway Corporation will soon set up two ‘isolation wards’ at the Margao railway station, and if required passengers could be screened for COVID-19, which has been spreading its tentacles throughout the world.
The KRC so far has not adopted any preventive measures at railway stations in Goa to keep off COVID-19.
Nearly 30 trains run along the Goa railway route every day, bringing on an average 800 passengers in every train. There is every possibility of passengers from the states, where coronavirus cases have been recorded, travelling into Goa.
Regional railway manager (Goa in-charge) Balasaheb Nikkam said the KRC will soon set up two isolation wards at the Margao railway station, adding that if required passengers could be screened for COVID-19.
Nikkam, however, admitted that no measure vis-à-vis the deadly virus has been adopted so far to keep a track on passengers at
railway stations in the state.
“The virus is mostly spread by foreigners, and foreigners hardly travel by trains. We are soon going to set up two isolation wards at the Margao railway station. And if required, we can think of other measures,” Nikkam said.
However, the casual attitudes of the KRC vis-a-vis the spread of the virus has upset many citizens.
Noted Margao-based surgeon Dr Sharmad Kudchadkar has words of caution over train passengers not being screened at railway stations.
Passengers from the COVID-19-hit states travel to Goa by trains, heightening the virus risk to the state, Dr Kudchadkar said, adding that it is high time the KRC undertook precautionary measures at rail stations in Goa.
He urged the state government to intervene and direct the KRC to adopt preventive measures.
This reporter visited the KRC’s railway station in Margao and found total absence of any preventive measures, which should have been adopted in the wake of the deadly spread of coronavirus.
Only announcements are being made on caution and safety as regards the disease.
“There are no sanitisers at the station, or anywhere around it. There is also no enough water in trains to wash our hands,” a train passenger said.
However, a few passengers were seen wearing face masks on their own volition.
A passenger speaking through the face mask expressed anxiety on COVID-19 hitting the tourist state.
“Something must be done when there is time,” the worried woman passenger said.
A local resident, who had come to the station for cancelling his ticket, said Health Minister Vishwajit Rane must immediately ask the KRC to take safety measures in association with local health authorities.