No response from Railways on screening facilities: State to HC

The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it had not received any response for its request to the Indian Railways to create facilities where passengers could be screened in a manner similar to those adopted by domestic and international airports in the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Government pleader P.P. Kakade also said local trains and buses in Mumbai were being cleaned with sodium hydrochloride solution, which will destroy the virus.

The State submitted this before a Bench of Acting Chief Justice B.P. Dharmadhikari and Justice N.R. Borkar in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Prabhadevi resident Sagar Jondhale, raising concerns over coronavirus. The PIL stated the urgent need to invoke the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. The petitioner sought orders for the immediate setting up of an epidemic disease control board for arresting the spread of dangerous diseases.

The State said a high-powered committee led by the Chief Secretary, including the heads of 21 departments, was monitoring efforts to check the spread of COVID-19. The State also listed measures taken by the government to contain the virus, including closure of schools and colleges, postponement of university examinations, and closure of public places like cinema halls, museums, gymnasiums, and swimming pools.

The Maharashtra Public Service Commission has also stayed its examinations.

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