Nearly five months after it restricted all inter-district travel as part of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the state government is planning to resume inter-district bus services soon. State Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, Vijay Wadettiwar, on Saturday said talks have been held with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on the issue.
“The chief minister is positive about resuming the inter-district state-run bus services in the state. The decision will be taken next week,” Wadettiwar said.
Under the current lockdown rules, inter-district travel is disallowed barring a few exceptions. Inter-district travel without an e-pass is allowed within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region districts of Mumbai, Thane and Palghar. Earlier this month, the government also made an exception to allow inter-district travel in buses and trains to the three districts of Konkan — Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg — for the Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.
The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), the state-owned transport body, had stopped its state-wide bus operations since March 25 after the lockdown was enforced. Initially, the state-run buses were being operated in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region to ferry the workers engaged in the essential services.
From May 22, the state government allowed the MSRTC to resume the intra-district bus operations in the state, excluding the red and containment zones. The services resumed with certain riders such as only 50 per cent occupancy to meet social-distancing norms, sanitizing the bus using disinfectants before putting them on roads, wearing masks compulsory for passengers and staff.
Wadettiwar said discussions were also held on allowing coaching classes to resume. It can be allowed with certain norms and a decision in the matter will be taken soon, he told mediapersons.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines