Mumbai: In a major relief to the devotees travelling to their family homes in the Konkan region for the 10-day Ganesh festival, the Maharashtra Government has relaxed lockdown norms on their transportation. They will not have to procure mandatory e-passes for inter-district travel in buses operated by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRTC).
Every year, lakhs of people from Mumbai travel to their hometowns in districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg for the festival.
Minister of Transport Anil Parab, after his meeting with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said those who wanted to go to Konkan should reach there before August 12, and that they will be home quarantined for 10 days. The quarantine period has been reduced.
"Those who want to go to Konkan after August 12 for the festival should get their swabs tested 48 hours before their departure. They will be allowed to travel only if their report is negative and the report be submitted to authorities," the transport minister told reporters.
He said 3,000 state transport (ST) buses will be made available for Konkan travel, bookings for which will begin this evening on the MSRTC''s portal. One bus will ferry 22 people to ensure that social distancing norms are followed, he said.
"While those travelling by ST buses will not need e- passes, those opting for other modes of transport will have to procure such passes," Parab said.
He appealed to people to celebrate the Ganesh festival, beginning August 22, in a low-key manner.
Parab informed that Rs 550 crore have been approved for paying salaries of MSRTC staffers.