Amid the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government planned a phase-wise unlocking, the associations of suburban train commuters, on Friday, urged the state government to start the operation of local trains for the general public as soon as possible.
With the lockdown being imposed in Maharashtra, the Mumbai local trains were suspended for the general public for the second time on April 15. The first time it happened was in March 2020 when PM Narendra Modi had declared a nationwide lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19.
Currently, local train services are operational for essential workers and citizens who are travelling for vaccination or hospital purpose. In general, over three million passengers travel by local trains on both the Central and Western Railway on daily basis.
On Wednesday, the passenger associations met the Central Railway officials and also asked for an improvement in security standards for women commuters and urged the railway authorities to open up the local trains for the general public.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Rail Yatri Parishad president Subhash Gupta said that the train services should be resumed for the general public with the process of unlocking starting in the state. Gupta said that people travelling for work should be allowed to commute.
The passenger associations also suggested that train services should be open to those who are vaccinated against COVID.
On the matter, Central Railway chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said that the state government is coordinating with railway authorities for any further decision in this regard.