The desperation to unlock suburban train services for more categories is slowly gaining voice. And for this purpose, passenger associations, probably for the first time, will be starting an online campaign called #LocalShuruKara on social media. A meeting was held between different rail passengers and rail authorities on the matter. This comes at a time when railway authorities have been carrying out extensive checks to weed out people carrying fake identity cards to board local trains.
On July 9, a meeting was held at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) between representatives of suburban rail passenger associations and railway officials. The primary demand is to open the local trains for more categories of people, especially from financially weaker sections.
According to representatives of Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, they discussed their demands to resume local trains for at least those from the poorer sections. The passenger associations stated that they are starting #LocalShuruKaro on social media trying to garner support from people for opening up local trains for more categories of people.
“We started a social media campaign so that more people could support the need to resume train services for more categories of commuters. We were told that, till the time the Maharashtra government does not allow the public to board trains, they cannot give us permission for the same. Travelling by road is not always feasible and it doesn’t cater to many people,” said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh, who was part of the meeting with railway and state government authorities.
Passenger associations claimed that, of the capacity of 3,141 daily services, at least 88 percent are operational. “Each local train has a capacity of 3,500 passengers. Even if we allowed 70 per cent of it, 70 lakh people would be able to commute. We have demanded to distribute 50 lakh daily tickets at all 125 stations. The pass system should also be upgraded with three categories and entry and exit access points should be controlled,” said Siddesh Desai, member, Rail Pravasi Sangh.
Different passenger associations also visited Mantralaya to submit their memorandum. They have sought the unlocking of train services for people who have taken both doses and are carrying verified certificates. They have been waiting for a joint action plan from all the stakeholders and have threatened to protest if their demands are not met.