India

Mumbai local trains can start immediately if state government seeks permission: Raosaheb Danve

BJP MP and Union Minister of State Raosaheb Danve, on Friday, July 9, 2021, made an important announcement related to the Mumbai local trains while accepting the position of Minister of State for Railways, at the recently held ceremony. 
As of now, the responsibility of starting the local trains in the city has been given to the state government, and the services can be resumed if and only when the state government feels that the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread is under control. Officials from the railways have been given strict directives to not allow general public to travel in the trains currently. Talking about the same, Minister Danve said that the trains can resume after the government analyses the COVID-19 crisis and sends a proposal regarding the same. 

Coronavirus cases across the city of Mumbai have reduced significantly, however, the government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been cautious about starting the local trains, as it would lead to crowding, which could increase the spread among the general public. On the other hand, people living far away from the city have been demanding the local train services to resume, as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their daily lives drastically. 

Meanwhile, reports state that the government has been taking steps not to start the services keeping the possibility of a third COVID-19 wave in mind.

After taking over the position as the Minister of State for Railways, Raosaheb Danve requested the state government to resume the local services after analysis the crisis and assured that the central government would support the decision. Information regarding the same was given during his interview recently with a Marathi news channel.

Besides this, state health minister Rajesh Tope, on July 7, 2021, also raised the topic of starting local train services for the public. Discussions were held during the monsoon session of the assembly. Issuing clarification regarding the matter, he added that the city has been observing restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the government has implemented the decision of keeping the shops open until 4 pm on weekdays. However, the demand to resume Mumbai local train has been raised repeatedly, but the government can only allow the same if the vaccination is conducted on a large scale.

A few weeks back, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had issued a statement which said that the local train services will not resume anytime soon in Mumbai. Minister Vijay Wadettiwar had further added that the government has been planning to allow the general public in the local trains only once the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Currently, employees working for sectors categorised under essential services are allowed to travel in the local trains.

However, the railways department has reported several cases where people have been using fake IDs to commute in the train. Several passengers have been held by the officials for travelling without the tickets, and to bring this under control, the state government has planned of introducing ‘Universal Travel Pass‘ whereby passengers will be able to commute only after the QR codes are scanned. These passes will be issued only to selected passengers currently, keeping the COVID-19 regulations in mind.

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