Over six months after Mumbai’s suburban train services were curtailed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Maharashtra government Friday decided to resume the local train services for women starting Saturday (October 17).
Women will now be allowed to access train services between 11 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm till the last service. While women have been permitted a limited duration, local train services to all essential service providers shall continue to be available for the entire day. “During the said period, entry may be allowed to all ladies having valid tickets and to all emergency staff as well. QR codes will not be required for ladies travelling during the said time period,” the state government said in a statement.
Mumbai’s suburban train services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were shut down on March 23 as part of the nationwide lockdown. The partial resumption of services was announced on June 15, but only those deemed to be essential service providers were allowed to board these trains after being allotted a special pass.
Now, the state government is gradually allowing economic activities to function, allowing libraries, movie theatres, restaurants and bars to open under the ‘Mission Begin Again’ guidelines.
From October 19, Mumbai Metro rail will also resume operations in a graded manner. The new guidelines also state that 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff can be called to schools at a time for online teaching and tele-counselling students. Business-to-business exhibitions as well as local weekly bazaars, including that of animals, have also be allowed to reopen outside containment zones.
There has been increasing pressure from the general public as well as public representatives on allowing the resumption of normal train services for all. Mumbai Guardian Minister Aditya Thackeray had earlier given an indication that there could be some normalisation of services by mid-October.
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