The Maharashtra govt had rejected teachers’ requests to allow them to commute by local trains on June 16.
The teachers had appealed for permission to travel since they are responsible for the internal assessment of Class 10 SSC students.
Those teaching Classes 1-9 were allowed to attend in 50% capacity and those teaching Class 10 and junior college students had to come to school to conduct assessments.
Teachers have expressed their displeasure at the situation by holding a protest demanding that they be allowed to travel by trains without being penalised for it.
This is especially vital for those coming from areas like Vasai, Virar, Palghar, Kalyan, Panvel, etc where the only available mode of transportation is the local trains.
Unions have demanded that they be categorised as essential service workers and should be prioritised for vaccination to ensure their safety while traveling.
They pointed out the govt’s paradoxical stance as they say that teachers must come to schools but do not provide a safe method of commuting to fulfil their duties.
When Will Rail Services Restart?
Presently, Mumbai local trains are closed to the public as the city gradually lifts restrictions.
State Cabinet Minister Vijay Wadettiwar has said that even though Covid cases are on the decline, the threat is still looming as a third wave could be around the corner
Therefore, train services cannot be allowed to resume immediately.
Rail operations can resume once Mumbai reaches the Level 1 phase of the 5-stage unlocking plan.
Level 1 comes into effect when districts have a case positivity rate of 5% or less and oxygen-supported bed occupancy is below 25%.
Mumbai is presently at Level 2, but Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahan has said that they will continue to follow Level 3 restrictions.
Govt Reverses Decision
Teachers have now been granted permission to go to their schools by local trains as per Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad.
She tweeted that teachers based in Mumbai and adjoining areas can now “travel on local trains for official purposes”.
However, this only applies to those who are involved in Class 10 exams along with non-teaching staff.
They have expressed relief as the process of internal assessment can be expedited.
Online Passes Required
They can now board suburban locals albeit with Level 2 passes.
The passes will be issued online after teachers enter their details in the link sent to them by SMS.
The process will be conducted by the Office of Deputy Director of Education in Mumbai.