With Maharashtra government opening more offices in Unlock 4.0, the call for restarting local trains has gained momentum. But, the state government is yet to take decision on restarting local trains.
The Maharashtra government had held a meeting with the COVID-19 task force last week during which restarting local trains was discussed, though no decision was taken.
With no local trains for general public, Mumbaikars are facing tremendous hardships due to limited transportation facilities. While, the state continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing demand among Mumbaikars for the restarting of local trains. The demand gained momentum, after Maharashtra government opened more offices.
The local trains were suspended for the general public since the lockdown began on March 22. The Western Railway and Central Railway resumed their Mumbai suburban services over mainline and Harbour line on June 15. These special suburban services were only for general passengers/public and were strictly meant for ‘essential staff’ as identified by the state government. Those working in private sector cannot use them, due to which most of them are struggling to reach their workplaces.
Considering the hardships faced the students appearing for examinations amid coronavirus outbreak, the state government permitted students to travel by local trains. By showing valid identity cards (I-card) and hall tickets, students appearing for final year exams and other competitive exams for advance studies, are now permitted to travel by special suburban train services over Mumbai Suburban network, said Central Railway.
The official Twitter handle of Central Railway posted a document which said, "With reference to the permission received from Ministry of Railways, Government of India, students appearing for final year exams and other competitive exams for advance studies as approved by State Government of Maharashtra, are permitted to travel by special suburban services over Mumbai Suburban network."
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra government how long it plans to restrict suburban train services in Mumbai in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court was hearing a petition and related applications seeking that lawyers be permitted to use local train services in the city.
The petitioners' counsel Shyam Dewani and Uday Warunjikar on Thursday urged the court to give direction to the state to permit lawyers to travel by local trains, as the High Court had partially resumed physical hearings.