For this primary school teacher, a trip from Shahpur to Kurla was turning out to be an expensive affair. A journey used to cost Umesh Vishe just Rs 40 per day by train was anywhere between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 by road after the second wave hit the city. He, along with his colleagues, started holding campaigns to open up trains. Finally, by the end of June, the teaching staff was given permission, following which they breathe a sigh of relief.
Vishe has now been championing for the cause for at least those who are fully vaccinated. Recently, as part of Railway Passenger Associations, the teachers have been demanding that the state government resumes trains for additional categories of passengers.
However, Vishe narrates the harrowing time he had while travelling by road. In February, when the trains had opened up for the general public, Vishe was asked to be physically present in school. By April, when the second wave hit, the trains were restricted only to essential category staff. This forced Vishe and his colleagues to travel by car pool. However, in doing this, they used to spend around six to seven hours just commuting daily.
“I had to go at least three to four times a week. I was forced to drive down from Shahpur to Kurla,” said Vishe. “In order to reach school at 11am, I had to leave by 7.30-8am. I used to then pick up my colleagues along the way. On his way back, I used to leave between 5.30pm and 6pm. By the time I reached home, it used to be 9.30pm. I used to spend anywhere between Rs 1,000-1,200 daily on fuel,” he added.
Since the third week of June, the state government allowed teaching staff to travel by train. Vishe gradually started taking local trains more frequently by July. “Now, I am able to travel by train which costs just Rs 40 a day. It also saves up on time and reduces stress levels,” he said.
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