Ahead of the Centre’s announcement of Unlock 4.0 guidelines in which it allowed resumption of Metro services, the West Bengal government urged the Railways to restart local train as well as Metro services in a limited manner.
West Bengal Home Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay in a letter to Chairman of Railway Board Vinod Kumar Yadav said resumption of local trains and Metro services could be allowed, while maintaining Covid-19 protocols, including social distancing.
The development came after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the state government was ready to allow Metro and local train services from September
The letter to the Home Secretary, written on August 28, stated: “This is to bring to your notice that the state government is of the view that Metro and local train services can be resumed in Bengal in a limited manner maintaining the norms of physical distancing and health hygiene protocols.”
It added, “However, it is requested that before resumption of services, the required modalities and logistics to ensure smooth operation of these services may be worked out in consultation with the state government.”
On August 26, in a press conference held in the state secretariat, Nabanna, Banerjee had announced the extension of lockdown till September 20 and informed that the biweekly complete lockdown will also continue.
She further said local trains and Metro services could be resumed and the Railways should talk with the state government over this issue. She also allowed direct flights from six cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Pune — thrice a week from September 1.
However, the state government announced that schools and colleges will continue to remain shut. The CM also vociferously opposed the Centre’s decision of holding NEET and JEE examinations by September and recently held a meeting over the issue with Opposition leaders and chief ministers of non-BJP states.
The state government along with other states has filed a review petition with the Supreme Court on the issue. On Friday, Banerjee made it clear that examinations of colleges and universities will not be held in September, but likely before Durga Puja. She asked the State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee to figure out ways — offline and online — for conducting examinations during the pandemic.
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