Indian pedestrians walk through the scene of a stampede on a railway bridge in Mumbai
Indian pedestrians walk through the scene of a stampede on a railway bridge in Mumbai

Amid rising coronavirus cases, the Mumbai Suburban Railway Passengers Association has made a fresh appeal to the Maharashtra Government to introduce a staggered timing for offices to avoid crowding in the trains. This is urgently needed as even if the special trains are currently operated they are crowded and there is every possibility of further spread of Covid-19 infection.

Association founder Manohar Shelar said the state government from September 2 has allowed 50% staff in the government offices and 30% in the private offices. “Currently about 3.35 lakh employees are commuting in special suburban trains but it is expected to grow further with the government decision. In the present situation, resumption of regular suburban railway services is not expected but if it is done then it will lead to more crowding and therefore the government needs to act now and introduce staggered timings for the government and private offices in Greater Mumbai,” he noted.

Shelar has racked up his demand for opening of banks at 9 am, government offices and municipal corporation offices at 10.30 and private offices at 11.30 am or 12 pm in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). In addition, the weekly offs should be declared on separate days. ‘’These initiatives can be implemented without government expenditure. However, this will substantially reduce burden on the suburban trains and avoid crowding,’’ he said.

Shelar argued that the change in office hours will also reduce stress on the railway system. He further noted that it will also ease the traffic problem in the MMR.

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