Trains for all: Maharashtra government yet to take a call, wary of spike in Covid cases
Worried about a spike in Covid-19 cases, the state government has decided to wait for a few more days before taking any decision on reopening local trains for the general public.
Currently, those working in essential and emergency sectors, cancer patients and differently-abled persons are allowed to travel on local trains through the day. From the third week of October, women commuters have been allowed to travel in specified hours. Earlier, there were talks of opening local trains for all during non-peak hours.
The issue was discussed in the state cabinet meeting following which chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said they will deliberate with all the people concerned before taking any decision. State relief and rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar said they were in favour of reopening local trains for general people and a decision will be taken in the next eight days. “The ministers are wary of the consequences of allowing lakhs of commuters to travel in suburban trains. They are of the view that permission would be like opening floodgates, which will result in a spike in Covid-19 cases in Mumbai. This is the reason the government is extra cautious,” said a senior minister, requesting anonymity.
“The hearing on the matter in the Bombay high court is yet to be completed. The state government is also in favour of allowing all commuters to travel on suburban trains. The cabinet has discussed the issue and a decision will be taken in the next eight days,” Wadettiwar said.
After its initial shutdown in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the suburban train services have been partially resumed, allowing only essential workers and some sections of people to travel in them.