Mumbai: Following direction to reopen degree colleges and universities offline in Maharashtra, teaching and non-teaching staff said suburban train services need to be started for all. Professors said before jumping into the decision of reopening offline lectures the state government should first allow all students and staff to commute by local trains without any time restrictions.
On Wednesday, Uday Samant, state higher and technical education minister, announced, "Degree colleges and universities in Maharashtra can re-open offline with 50 per cent attendance from February 15, 2021. Colleges and universities will have to maintain all Covid-19 SOPs, safety protocols and distancing measures."
In response to this direction, professors said how are they supposed to commute if they are not permitted to board local train services between 7 am to 12 pm and from 4 pm to 9 pm. Jasminder Bambara, a professor said, "I will get done with my lectures at 10 am. But, I will have to wait for another two hours because I am permitted to board the train only between 12 pm to 4 pm, how does this make sense?"
Recently, the state government resumed local train services stating that common people are permitted to travel in specific time slots only from the start of the day's services to 7 am, then from 12 pm to 4 pm and later from 9 pm till end of the day. Only those engaged in essential services are allowed to commute between 7 am to 12 pm and from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Meena Kadam, a non-teaching staff of a Chembur college said, "I reside at Kalyan so I have to change two trains to reach the college at Chembur. I get done with work at 5 pm. But now, I will have to wait till 9 pm to board the train in order to return home. This is ridiculous because my entire day will be wasted."