Updated: August 18, 2021 8:37:35 am
Around 35 lakh passengers travelled on the Mumbai suburban trains on Tuesday – the first full working day after people vaccinated with both doses against Covid-19 were allowed to board local trains and an extended long weekend, said officials.
From August 15, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced that local train services could be availed by people who have taken both vaccine doses and completed 14 days after receiving the second jab.
On Sunday, over 18 lakh commuters boarded the trains. This number increased to around 34 lakh on Monday. With government and private offices reopening after an extended weekend due to the Parsi New Year holiday on Monday, rail officials expected a surge in crowds on Tuesday.
However the crowd was similar to Monday. “As per our assessment, on Tuesday also, around 35 lakh people travelled. It could be that many who are seeking to travel on the trains do not meet the vaccination criteria laid down by the state,” a senior official said. So far, the Railways has allotted monthly passes to two lakh people to board local trains.
Officials said that there was minimal crowding on trains on Tuesday and most services ran smoothly. However, at various places like Dombivali, arguments ensued between commuters and railway officials at ticket counters over purchase of daily tickets.
The government has allowed eligible passengers to only buy monthly passes and not daily tickets.
The move has been opposed by Railways passengers’ associations, which have claimed that people who want to undertake single-day journeys are being forced to buy monthly passes.
“…Government restrictions allowing us to buy only monthly passes is wrong. Many people need to travel only twice or thrice a week and they generally buy daily tickets… But due to this rule, they cannot get daily tickets… they do not wish to spend extra money on monthly passes unnecessarily,” said Rajesh Ghanghav, president of Kalyan kasara Karjat Railway Passengers Association.
He added that due to shortage of doses, a limited number of people have been vaccinated in MMR. “Many people are waiting for their second dose. In such a situation, the government should allow those who have taken the first jab to board trains.”
As per the statistics provided by the railways, from August 11 to August 17 evening, a total of 207621 monthly passes were issued to fully vaccinated people .
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