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FPJ Exclusive: Maha govt to meet on Wed to discuss further easing curbs on local train travel

08:00 AM Oct 21, 2020 | Sanjay Jog

Mumbai: Although the Maharashtra Government has reiterated that it is in no hurry for full-scale resumption of suburban train services in Mumbai amid the present Covid crisis, it is open to allowing more commuters to travel but in fixed slots. The government has convened a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the modalities and the roadmap on further opening up travel in local trains under its 'Mission Begin Again'. Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar will chair the meeting with officials from the government department, police, Central and Western Railways.

At present, the state government is allowing essential services staff and employees from certain other undertakings to travel by train and starting today, it is also allowing women to commute during non-peak hours.

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A senior official, who will be present at Wednesday’s meeting told The Free Press Journal, “The government is keen to relax curbs on travelling, in phases. The railways starts services at 3.58am so the proposal is, till 8am, commuters from non-essential services, traders and others can travel. From 8am to 10am, only essential services staff and already identified commuters will travel and during that time, no other passengers will be permitted. Women commuters will travel between 11am and 3pm and again after 7pm till the end of the day's services.’’ The officer informed that the slot between 4pm and 7pm will be exclusively for essential services staff and others already cleared by the state government.

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Moreover, the officers said, the government may consider a slot between 10am and 11am for lawyers, court staff and people from non-government establishments. Similarly, the slot between 3pm and 4pm will be fixed for those who have to return home. “These slots will be finalised in dialogue with the CR and WR, in a bid to avoid crowding,’’ he noted.

The official said the CR and WR have already hinted that they can put additional trains into service after a green signal from the Railway Board.

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