Mumbai: A statement issued by Maharashtra Chief Minister’s office on Monday stated that Mumbai local trains will resume operations for the general public soon. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray chaired a high-level meet on Monday in this regard.
The government is expected to allow the general public to take local trains in a limited time slot starting from non-peak hours. Operations are expected to begin in the next few days.
“Soon the trains will be open to all. The risk of COVID19 proliferation is not yet eliminated. The possibilities and aspects to take the idea forward were discussed in the important meeting,” a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Since the Corona pandemic is yet to pass, the meeting discussed ways to resume local train services for all without causing overcrowding.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) January 25, 2021
According to private officials for the development, the state government, which until now was wary of opening railway operations to the general public, is now beginning to believe that the time had come to start services.
“The positivity rate in MMR has gone below 5%, and the infection rate is very low. All departments and even civic bodies in MMR believed that by taking measures to control congestion, railway operations could be started in a staggered manner,” said an official who did not want to be named.
The government is expected to allow passengers to start during non-peak hours before 7 am and after 10 pm. “During those hours, the crowd in which women are allowed has increased. Based on that experience, operations in calibrated etiquette will be allowed,” the official said.
Government and railway officials have been asked to tap on the necessary measures to control congestion. Another official said, “Office hours are almost over because this is not an idea that can be implemented in MMR Colour coding and time slotting and their monitoring is a tedious job but could be considered,” said another officer.
Once a decision is made, the state government will notify the Railways, who will, in turn, seek permission from the Ministry of Railways. Railway officials have told the government that they will not need more than a day to resume 100% of the operations from the current operations of 85% of the services.
However, officials said that the state government should have room for crowd control.
At present, select categories of people, including essential services workers and women, are allowed to board suburban trains.