Mumbai: In view of the burgeoning Covid-19 cases in Delhi, the Maharashtra Government is mulling the discontinuation of train and plane services between the national capital and Mumbai, to avoid a further spread of the infection. “This is still under consideration and since there are other stakeholders involved, we have not taken any decision yet,’’ said Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar.
However, a senior bureaucrat said, if the state government were to arrive at a consensus with the ministries of civil aviation and railways, services could be halted from early next week.
At present, there are 25 flights from Delhi to Mumbai and an equivalent number leaving for Delhi daily. Every day, nine trains leave from Delhi to Mumbai and eight depart from Mumbai to Delhi.
The Maharashtra government’s proposal comes at a time when daily cases, which had dipped below 3,000 last week, have once again started rising above 5,000. On Friday, the state reported 5,640 new cases, of which 1,031 were in Mumbai alone. The fatality rate also continues to be higher, at 2.63 per cent.
Further, the state public health department and the state taskforce have hinted at the possibility of a second coronavirus pandemic wave in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra between December and February, in view of winter. “The arrival of commuters from Delhi on flights and trains may lead to a surge in infections. Therefore, these services need to be curtailed or banned for a while,’’ opined another bureaucrat.
However, the Ministry of Railways tweeted on Friday, ‘’ There have been reports in sections of media today about cancellation of certain trains in the Delhi Mumbai sector. It may be clarified that Railways has not taken any decision regarding cancellation of trains on Mumbai Delhi sector.’’
The Federation of Suburban Railway Passengers Associations President Nandkumar Deshmukh made a strong case for immediate cancellation of trains on the Delhi-Mumbai sector in view of a spike in the pandemic in the national capital.
A spokesperson for the ministry of civil aviation said they hadn't received any information on the suspension of flights between Mumbai and Delhi.