Mumbai Local Can Be Restricted For General Passengers, Again: Find Out Why?
The headcount of active coronavirus cases have risen meteorically in Maharashtra, especially in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
State officials and many health experts believe the major reason for the spike in active Covid-19 cases reported per day is the resumption of local train services in MMR for the general public.
The state government resumed local train services for the general public in non-peak hours’ time slots, starting February 1.
Active cases of coronavirus across the city have been increasing turbulently ever since. Consequently, the Maharashtra government is now mulling over reinstating previous (Covid times’) restrictions on local train services for everyone except essential workers.
Simultaneously, the state government is also considering reducing the current time slots for the general public, to utilize local train services.
Here are all the possibilities and current scenarios encircling the issue.
Local Trains Could be Revoked for General Public
After an upsurge in the number of Covid-19 across Mumbai over the past two weeks, the Maharashtra government is considering revoking local train services for general public, restrictions on which were put on ease on February 1.
The state government could either reinstall complete restrictions or reduce the allotted time slots for the general public.
However, any of the aforementioned decisions would only be taken after a thorough review of existing cases in the next few days.
According to Vijay Wadettiwar, the relief and rehabilitation minister, the state government is tilting towards the idea of rescheduling the train timings, due to an upsurge in cases.
He states, “We will not completely restrict the general public from commuting on the train, but will reschedule the timings”.
Is Resumption of Local Trains Services Responsible?
Many state officials and experts are of the view that resuming local train services for general public across the city, is among the reasons for a spike in Covid-19 cases in Mumbai and neighbouring areas, in the past 2 weeks.
According to an official, “It is true that the crowding in local trains is one of the reasons for the upsurge in the Covid-19 cases in the MMR. The number of passengers in all three lines has increased four times after the general public was allowed to travel in local trains from February 1.
The state government will either revoke the permission given to the general public completely or reduce the allotted time slot to reduce the crowding in the locals.”
Other officials (state govt) informed that the review of the same is expected to be taken next week.
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray informed in his televised speech last Sunday that a decision on imposition of lockdown in the state will be taken after a review of the upcoming eight to fifteen days.
33 Lakh Commuters/Day in Mumbai Locals
On February 1, the state government resumed local train services for general public, in three time slots:
- From the day’s first service till 7am,
- 12pm to 4pm, and
- From 9 pm to the last train of the day.
As a result, about 33 lakh commuters now travel in local trains per day on three lines, with 20 lakh commuters on Central Railway per day and 13 lakh using Western Railways.
Prior to this, when local trains were open for essential and emergency service workers, in extension to women commuters in stipulated time slots, the total passengers to have used local trains until February 1 was 80 lakh.
Now, about 33 lakh commuters use local trains in just one day.
An official from the healthcare sector says, “The crowding in the trains is one of the reasons for the rise in the cases. Passengers travelling from Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai may lead to the spread across the MMR.”
Of the 1,774 train services operated by the Central Railway and 1,367 by the Western Railway before the coronavirus outbreak, currently, 1685 local train services are being operated by the Central Railway, while 1300 are being operated by the Western Railway.