Several BJP leaders in Maharashtra on Friday participated in protests held by the party in Mumbai to press for the demand that those common citizens, who have received both the doses of COVID-19 vaccines, be allowed to travel by suburban trains.
The party's state unit chief Chandrakant Patil, who staged a protest at Sion, said, "The financial condition of low-income groups has already worsened due to the pandemic. If these people are fully vaccinated, then they should be allowed to board the local trains." The state government should not play with the lives of the common man, he said.
Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Pravin Darekar, took part in a protest at Churchgate station and later travelled to Charni Road station from there.
Talking to reporters later, he said, "The government is allowing people to travel by buses and other modes of transport, but not by local trains. People who have got both the vaccines can even travel by plane, but local train services are still not open for them." "The state government has allowed private offices to operate at full capacity. In this scenario, how are people supposed to reach their offices?" he asked.
The suburban train services in the metropolis were suspended for general public in April this year due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. At present, only government employees and essential services staffers are allowed to travel in local trains.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said on Thursday that his government was considering resuming suburban train services in Mumbai for all commuters and a decision in this regard would be taken with responsibility.
Meanwhile, TV Journalists Association alleged that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) pushed some reporters and camerapersons and disrupted their work at Charni Road station.
"Jounalists had gathered at the station to cover the BJP's protest. However, the RPF personnel pushed some of reporters and camerapersons away. We condemn this use of force," a statement issued by the association said.
A similar protest was held by the BJP's Thane city unit, which was led by MLC Niranjan Davkhare and Thane MLA Sanjay Kelkar.
The agitators raised slogans demanding the resumption of suburban train services and some of them even attempted to forcibly travel by local trains, but were stopped by the railway police.
Talking to reporters at the venue of the agitation, Davkhare said the state government should allow at least those who have completed both doses of COVID-19 vaccination to travel in local trains.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)