The Western Railway (WR) Friday said it will not start Mumbai suburban train services for women from October 17, hours after the Maharashtra government gave its nod for the same.
It also stated that the services can start only after modalities are worked out following a meeting between the state and railway authorities.
As of now, only those deemed to be essential service providers are allowed to board the local trains. Mumbai’s suburban train services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were shut down on March 23 as part of the nationwide lockdown.
Following a letter by the state government on resuming the train services for women, the Western Railway said it will need to take approval from the railway board for allowing women to board trains.
“Railway officials and Maharashtra government will have a meeting to quantify the number of passengers and then to set up protocol about maintaining social distancing, then only we can take the final call on it,” Sumit Thakur, WR Chief Public Relation Officer, said.
“Once the approval is received from the Railway Board, such permission can be communicated. Without getting permission, it would not be possible to permit ladies during the stipulated hours from October 17 onwards in suburban trains,” the Western Railways said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, the state government requested the Railways to allow women to access train services between 11 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm till the last service.
The partial resumption of services was announced on June 15, but only those deemed to be essential service providers were allowed to board these trains after being allotted a special pass.
Now, the state government is gradually allowing economic activities to function, allowing libraries, movie theatres, restaurants and bars to open under the ‘Mission Begin Again’ guidelines.
From October 19, Mumbai Metro rail will also resume operations in a graded manner. The new guidelines also state that 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff can be called to schools at a time for online teaching and tele-counselling students. Business-to-business exhibitions as well as local weekly bazaars, including that of animals, have also be allowed to reopen outside containment zones.
There has been increasing pressure from the general public as well as public representatives on allowing the resumption of normal train services for all. Mumbai Guardian Minister Aditya Thackeray had earlier given an indication that there could be some normalisation of services by mid-October.
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