The Maharashtra government on Wednesday extended the lockdown in the containment zones and announced a few relaxations for the non-containment zones. Along with the relaxations for restaurants and hotels, the state government also allowed resumption of local train services in the Pune region.
“Local trains in Pune region can resume services as per the protocol and procedure followed in MMR region. The Commissioner of Police, Pune will be the nodal officer to coordinate the same,” the guidelines stated.
The local trains in Pune have been shut from six months amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The local trains, which are a major mode of transport for working people between Pune and Lonavala, is all set to resume from mid-October. However, there is a caveat.
According to an official of the Pune railway division, only two to three local trains will begin from mid-October and will only be for those engaged in essential services.
“Officials of the Pune rail division had a meeting with the Pune police commissioner. The latter has been named the nodal officer by the state government to resume and coordinate the local train movements from Pune," an official of the Pune railway division told TOI.
"A draft proposal on the ways to start the train services would be prepared by the commissioner’s office and shared with the railway division soon. Once the rail division approves, the final decision will be taken,” he added.
The official further said that they intend to start the services with one or two trains in the first phase. However, only those engaged in essential services can use the trains. "Slowly, more trains would be added to the list and the category of passengers allowed would be updated,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pune reported 1,036 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking its COVID-19 count to 1,46,327.
As per the update by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, 42 people succumbed to the infection, taking the death toll to 3,528. A total of 1,170 patients were discharged during the day, taking the number of active cases to 16,369.
In the neighbouring twin-city of Pimpri Chinchwad, 633 COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, taking the COVID-19 cases total to 78,714. 5 deaths were recorded during the day. Now, the death toll due to the infection is 1,323. A total of 1,236 people were discharged today, taking the total of cured COVID-19 patients to 71,124.