Mumbai: Full-scale resumption of suburban railway services is not likely to happen anytime soon, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray stated on a web address on October 11. In spite of repeated requests from office goers and different organisations, Thackeray indicated that the state government was in no rush to do so, considering the spread of the coronavirus and the rising number of cases here. However, he added that the Government had been pursuing a proposition to increase the current suburban railway services to accommodate more passengers.
Of total 1,774 services, the Central Railway is operating 453 while the Western Railway is running 467 against its 1,467 services. ‘‘Local train service is a very important issue. I am aware everyone wants to travel on suburban trains, which are direly needed; However, crowding in these trains is also a very important issue. We care about people and understand their problems. Trust me, we will decide soon,’’ Thackeray assured.
Thackeray’s explanation comes five days after the Bombay High Court recommended an increment in the frequency of local trains being run in Mumbai, to check thronging of crowd. ‘‘The frequency of local trains on all three lines (Western, Central and Harbour) has to be increased, to reduce crowding,’’ the court had said. The division bench had further stated, ‘‘We are now in partial lockdown. Malls are open, hotels are allowed to remain open, government offices are working with 100 per cent staff and several other sectors are now working. Railway services need to correspond with this.”
After the State Government had declared the lockdown on March 22, suburban train services were stopped from March 23 and their operations commenced on June 15, with essential suppliers permitted to travel.