Govt proposes throwing Mumbai local trains open to all around Diwali, BMC expects spike in Covid-19 cases
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday proposed to the Union Ministry of Railways to allow all commuters to travel by suburban trains. The government has written to the general managers (GMs) of Western Railway and Central Railway and proposed time slots to allow all commuters to use suburban train servicesUpdated: Oct 30, 2020, 12:24 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has expressed concern about a spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases following the Maharashtra government’s proposed move to throw the suburban trains – the lifeline for Mumbai and the adjoining densely populated Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) – open for all commuters around the Diwali festival, which will be celebrated on November 14, at three specific time slots during the day.
The BMC authorities said allowing the public to use suburban trains around Diwali might lead to an uptick in Covid-19 cases as more people are likely to go out for shopping and mingling with their friends and relatives because of the festival of lights.
The civic body reinforced precautionary measures for the public such as the use of masks and sanitisers in a bid to rein in the spread of the contagion.
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday proposed to the Union Ministry of Railways to allow all commuters to travel by suburban trains.
The government has written to the general managers (GMs) of Western Railway and Central Railway and proposed time slots to allow all commuters to use suburban train services.
Three time slots during the day have been proposed for all commuters and also a ladies special train for women passengers after every one hour.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner (AMC), BMC, said: “One cannot deny that there is likely to be a surge in Covid-19 cases because of the state government’s proposed move. The public is expected to mingle and go out for their Diwali shopping.”
He added: “Wearing of masks, sanitising hands and other precautionary measures must be complied with.”
BMC is also planning to ramp up its daily testing mechanism because of the state government’s proposed move.
The civic body plans to organise free testing camps in Mumbai and management of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients.
“We have sufficient hospital beds that can cope up with a possible spike in Covid-19 cases,” Kakani said.
BMC’s data showed that around 54% of Covid-19 beds are lying vacant in Mumbai.
The city has reported 2,55,360 Covid-19 cases and 10,229 viral disease-related deaths till Thursday.
At present, Mumbai has 19,082 active Covd-19 cases.
So far, 2,25,526 Covid-19 patients have recovered from their viral infection.
In a separate move, all restaurants in Mumbai have been allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity from Sunday (November 1), as compared to the existing 33%.
In early October, the state government had allowed reopening of restaurants with 50% of their capacity across Maharashtra.
However, in Mumbai, the BMC had capped it at 33% till Saturday (October 31).