Central Railways awaits nod to run Mumbai’s locals for essential government staff from this week

MUMBAI: Following requests by the Maharashtra government to the Centre to restart Mumbai’s local train network for essential services workers, the Central Railway is awaiting the final nod to reintroduce services for state government staffers in essential duties from Monday.

Though a final decision is yet to be taken and a nod awaited “from the top”, sources said the state government would have to provide the railways with a list of passengers engaged in essential services duty, to whom tickets will be issued directly, a system similar to that employed for the Shramik Specials. Ticket booking counters will not be open. The trains that will ply will have stops only at stations where fast trains are usually allowed to take halts.

Sources said according to the arrangement being planned, the state would be asked to give a QR code-based ID card to essential workers to ensure easy identification. All ticket checking staff have been told to report from Monday with a QR code scanner downloaded on their mobile phones.

Railway ticket checkers in city to get PPEs

PPEs will be provided to all ticket checkers or TTEs, sources said. Sources said the state and railways are likely to finalise the modalities in coordination with the Union ministry of home affairs.

CM Uddhav Thackeray had, in PM Modi’s video conference interaction with chief ministers on May 11, sought permission to restart suburban railway services in the city so that essential services staff could be ferried. He had said staffers would be allowed to board the trains only after their I-cards had been checked.

The demand has been reiterated by the state since then and also after the first phase of the state’s ‘Mission Begin Again’ was launched, postlockdown, on June 1. BEST buses and bus stops have seen big crowds in the rush hours since the start of this month, with social distancing norms often flouted.

Sources said there will be no thermal scanning at the stations, and the state government would have to deploy its staff initially to handle arrangements at various railway stations. Sources said the state must also stagger office timings to avoid overcrowding in trains and at stations. CR chief PRO Shivaji Sutar said, “As of now we haven’t got any instructions. We will convey details after receiving an approval from the authorities.”

[Source – Economic Times]


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