Updated: August 6, 2021 11:43:52 am
Four days after easing some restrictions in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said the state government is considering allowing people to travel by suburban local trains in Mumbai, with officials maintaining that the modalities were still under discussion.
Thackeray said the government has allowed relaxations wherever possible. “The Covid-19 situation in the state is mixed, as it has improved in some places. While it is not worrisome in some places, it should not reach that level. Wherever we could provide relaxation, we have given and, at some places, we haven’t as there is no option,” he said at an event held to inaugurate an office building of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
“The lockdown isn’t permanent. When will local (trains) start? We are considering starting it. We will grant these relaxations in other districts as well. But we will keep our responsibilities (for people) in mind and then ease restrictions,” he added.
Sources in the state government said the decision on allowing people to travel by train is likely to be taken in the next few days. “Various options such as whether to allow only people who have taken two doses of vaccine or others as well are being considered. The issue with allowing people with two doses is how to verify them at railway stations. The government may also consider allowing people at non-peak hours,” an official said.
Union Minister of State for Railways Raosaheb Danve has said that whenever Maharashtra government is ready to allow people to travel by local trains, the ministry will immediately grant permission.
In the wake of protests by traders and shopkeepers in Pune and other parts of the state against the continuing restrictions, the CM urged for patience. “I appeal to the people and traders maintain restraint at areas where we have not been able to ease the curbs. It is not that wherever relaxations have been given they are dear to us and others are not. We have to make these decisions keeping the safety of people in mind,” he added.
On Monday, the state government had eased lockdown restrictions in 22 districts, allowing malls, gymnasiums, yoga centres, salons, beauty parlours and spas to reopen with 50 per cent capacity, while shops and establishments can remain open till 8 pm on weekdays and till 3 pm on Saturday. Restaurants can remain open with 50 per cent seating capacity till 4 pm on weekdays only.
These relaxations, however, are not applicable to Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Beed, Raigad and Palghar districts due to high positivity and growth rate in Covid-19 cases.
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