Suburban train commuters working in non-essential services may have to wait longer to avail local train services.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said the government was in discussions with the Railways to increase the number of train services to enable more people, including those involved in non-essential services, to travel in local trains while adhering to social distancing norms.
“Mala gardi nako ahe (I don’t want a crowd to gather). I know everybody wants the trains to start,” Uddhav said in his address to the state on social media.
Last week, the state government had told the Bombay High Court that suburban railway services may be opened to all if commuters follow safety norms of wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.
Even as the BJP has been demanding that places of worship be opened, Uddhav said that it was out of care and love for the people that the government was treading cautiously over this decision.
He added that while Maharashtra has slowly started reopening, he didn’t want it to become like the Gateway of India that is always open, for Covid-19. “Navratri, Diwali and other religious festivals are coming up. We are slowly opening our doors for prosperity and good health but not for the coronavirus,” he said.
The CM further said that while restaurants had been allowed to open in Mumbai, his discussions with gym owners are still underway. “Coronavirus can spread through our breath, which is why we all have to wear masks. A person who is working out breathes heavily. If such a person is (Covid-19) positive, then how will you protect others from him?” he asked, adding that discussions are on about enforcing safety protocols in gyms.
Uddhav also said that while the government will be responsible for the people of Maharashtra, whom he addressed as “my family”, people, on their part also have to exercise care to protect themselves from the virus. “People have been seen without masks and even those who wear them are wearing them in such a way that you might think somebody has grown a beard. But beards are not yellow or green. That’s when you know it’s a mark. It is also not a pair of goggles that you can wear on your head for style. You need to protect your nose, mouth and eyes from the infection.”
“Elsewhere in the world, there are very heavy penalties for not wearing masks but I don’t want to do that yet…. You think about it, do you want to wear a mask or should we bring back the lockdown? Do you want to go to work or should we bring back the lockdown?” he asked.
Till Sunday, Maharashtra has reported 15.28 lakh Covid-19 cases.
Another peeve Uddhav expressed was people not coming forward to get tested in time. “We will take responsibility but you will have to be alert. Public response has not been as expected. People are still behaving irresponsibly and not getting tested in time. Please don’t do that. If you test positive, don’t worry about where you will be taken. We will take care of that but it is important that you get tested and treated in time. This will save you and your family,” he added.
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