New Delhi: The Delhi Metro, which has remained shut for the last four months, has drawn up an elaborate plan to resume operations and is likely to begin by the first week of August.

According to officials in the Delhi Metro, the Metro has laid down clear Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will have to be followed by commuters and Metro officials when the operations begin.

The SOPs statethat no coach will have more than 50 passengers in it at any given point in time, strict social distancing norms will be maintained inside the Metro and this will be monitored using CCTVs inside the Metro coaches along with surprise checks at stations.

The Aarogya Setu application is likely to be made mandatory for all commuters going to take the Metro.

Officials in the Delhi Metro also told The Sunday Guardian that all the entry and exit gates of the Metro stations will not be opened and controlled entry and exit will be put in place once the operations resume.  “Each Metro station has several entry and exit points, but to begin with, all the entry exit points to the station will not be opened. We will be opening limited entry exit points so that proper sanitisation and temperature checks are done on every individual going to enter the station,” a Metro official told this newspaper.

The Delhi Metro is also going to do away with the Ticket Vending Machines which they had installed in every station for seamless travel and to cut manpower.

“There will be no token given out from any stations. Every commuter who will take the Metro will have to use it through the smart card which they can recharge online. No cash will be accepted in the Delhi Metro,” the Delhi Metro official said.

Each train will also be sanitised at the originating and terminating stations and proper announcements will be made at each station educating people about the need to wear masks and maintain social distance.

The Delhi Metro has been running its train services every day at least twice—once in the morning and once in the evening on all its lines. This is being done in order to keep the network functional.  Regular maintenance of the tracks, coaches, signalling system and other electronic systems are also being carried out on a regular basis so that the Metro is ready to ply again without hindrances.

The Delhi Metro is one of the largest public transport systems in the national capital. The Metro ferries more than 25 lakh people every day in Delhi. But owing to the spread of the Covid-19 infection, the Delhi Metro was shut for the public since 22 March.

The four months of non-operation of the Delhi Metro has caused a heavy loss of more than Rs 1,200 crore for the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation).

The DMRC earns around Rs 300 crore each month with an expenditure of more than Rs 220 crore each month.

However, officials at the Metro said that the fixed expenditure of the Delhi Metro is causing some sort of a financial burden to the DMRC. Amongst the fixed expenditure that the DMRC has been bearing since the last four months are the salaries of more than 1,500 employees directly on the payroll of the company, along with fixed lease charges and EMIs of the Metro coaches, borrowings from different organisations, etc.

The DMRC pays approximately Rs 2,799 lakh in terms of electricity charges per month.

The DMRC had also paid an interest of Rs 41,490 lakh to the borrowings it had made from different sources.