The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner, Iqbal Singh Chahal, has hinted that the state government might only consider resuming suburban local train services post-December 31.
Chahal on Thursday stated that the civic body can only submit its recommendation about permitting the general public to travel by local trains across Mumbai only after monitoring the situation during Christmas and New Year revelry.
Last month Chahal had stated that the train services are likely to resume from December 15, looking at the declining number of Covid cases and deaths. However, the civic body seems to be in no mood to take a risk owing to the lurking threat of a second wave of Covid-19 hitting the city.
"It took a lot of effort from all our frontline workers to get a grip over the rising number of cases in the city; teams have slogged day and night tracing contacts, ensuring safety protocols are followed etc. We do not want to take a hasty decision and ruin all that. We will recommend to the state government that suburban train services be resumed for all only after monitoring the situation during Christmas and New year celebrations. Depending on the situation, we can decide on re-starting local trains from January 1, 2021," Chahal said.
Currently, only certain categories of persons, including those working for essential services and women, are allowed to travel by local trains.
Warning citizens who continue to gather in defiance of curbs and restaurants and restro bars which flout safety protocols, Chahal has given a 15-day ultimatum to follow the safety protocols, or the civic administration will ask the state government to impose a night curfew across the city.
Chahal has written to the Maharashtra government in this matter stating that some night clubs and restro bar were operating overnight. "In a spot inspection conducted last week, after we received several complaints, we raided and inspected three nigh clubs and restro bar. However, the information was leaked and many fled the spots. Nonetheless, many people were found without masks. Thousands gather at these restaurants, night clubs and restro bar at night time."
The BMC teams raided three restaurants and night clubs where a large number of people had gathered without proper masks, the commissioner said. "While an FIR was registered against Epitome, a global dining and bar outlet in Lower Parel, the other two locations -- M.I.T.R.O.N, a bar and rooftop chain in Bandra, and Barrel Mansion in Sahara Star, Vileparle, were left off with a warning. We have given them 15 days. If these restaurants, clubs and bars do not follow the safety protocol and SoPs, as stipulated by the state government, we will be forced to impose night curfew and order them to shut their outlets by 11 pm," he added
"The state government is currently not in favour of imposing a night curfew because it creates panic among people. Hence it has decided to wait and watch till December 25," Chahal said.
Chahal was speaking to media persons after meeting veteran actor Anupam Kher at the BMC headquarters. Kher gifted him a copy of his book "Your Best Day is Today". The book, based on the actor's experiences during the lockdown, also has a chapter about the civic body's efforts to tackle the pandemic.