India is set to resume metro rail services as the government gradually relaxes Covid-19 related restrictions in a bid to revive the economy.

The government has allowed metro rail operations to restart in a graded manner from 7 September 2020.

In a statement, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MOHUA) said: “Metro Rail operations have been allowed w.e.f. 7th September, 2020. The Standard operating procedure (SOP) already circulated will be discussed on 1st September 2020 through VC by MOHUA with all Metro companies and finalised.

“All MDs have been asked to look into SOP prepared by MOHUA earlier in view of the current realities. All suggestions will be considered in the VC Meeting and accordingly SOP will be finalised.”

The metro operations across several cities were suspended in March after the government announced a country-wide lockdown to restrict the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the measure, all passenger train operations, including metro rail services in the cities, were suspended.

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The initial lockdown was of three weeks, which was later extended several times with conditional relaxations. Services also started resuming in a phased manner from 8 June, a step that was termed ‘Unlock 1.0’.

The metro services are set to resume in ‘Unlock 4’, the fourth phase of lifting of lockdown restrictions.

However, passenger train services continue to remain suspended with only special trains operating on certain routes.

Notably, India is third-worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of number of confirmed cases. As of 31 August, it has reported more than 3.6 million coronavirus cases. The death toll in the country also surged to 64,400.