Mumbai local resumption for vaccinated people to be discussed with railways, says health minister Rajesh Tope
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said the decision of whether to reopen Mumbai locals for people who are fully vaccinated will be taken in consultation with the railway authorities. Tope's comment on Mumbai locals came as he announced further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in 25 districts of the state.
Mumbai suburban trains are open for a limited number of passengers. Passengers' woes have now snowballed into a political issue and the BJP is threatening the government that its party workers will travel by local trains from August 2, if travel restrictions are not relaxed. Pressure to reopen Mumbai locals to fully vaccinated people has been mounting on the government from MNS too as Raj Thackeray wrote to Uddhav Thackeray stating that this restriction is not coming to any use as Mumbai local passengers are now crowding buses. The BJP has also demanded that the state government should pay ₹5,000 per person if it does not reopen suburban railway services.
Mumbai's guardian minister Aslam Shaik on Wednesday said that personally, he was of the opinion that people who have got both the doses of their Covid-19 vaccine should be allowed to travel by local trains. The minister said that a detailed discussion on this issue took place in one of the recent Cabinet meetings.
Local trains, which are now only carrying essential staff, were suspended last year during the nationwide lockdown and then the services were restored in several phases for the specific essential categories of travellers, including lawyers, people travelling for treatment etc. Women passengers were also allowed for a specific timing. In February, just before the second wave of the pandemic struck, the services were open to all, but with timing restrictions.
Maharashtra's deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar earlier said that people who have been fully vaccinated should be allowed to go out.