The Maharashtra government on Friday gave its nod for running special trains from Mumbai to facilitate the movement of people to Konkan for upcoming Ganesh Utsav.
According to a report by Indian Express, this comes as an exception to the existing guidelines of the state that do not permit inter-district train travel. Director of the state Disaster Management Unit Abhay Yawalkar informed the principal chief operations manager of the Central Railway that special trains may be scheduled for the 10-day Ganpati festival, which begins on August 22.
The number of trains and frequency can be determined based on the demand, he said, adding that a valid confirmed ticket can also serve as an e-pass. Yawalkar also asked the Railways to ensure that all COVID-19 norms framed by the state and Central governments, including social distancing andsanitisation, are followed in trains and at railway stations.
The Maharashtra government has called for low-key Ganpati celebration this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ganeshotsav is the most popular festival in Maharashtra. The pandals set up by various mandals in Mumbai and other places in the state attract thousands of devotees during the 10-day festival, which begins on ''Ganesh Chaturthi''. This year, "Ganesh Chaturthi" falls on August 22.
Over the years, Ganpati celebrations have grown by leaps and bounds since it became a ''sarvajanik'' (public) festival more than a century ago.
(Inputs from Agencies)