Western Railways declines permission for women to travel by Mumbai Local Trains

Maharashtra government had recently sent a letter to the railways asking them to permit women to travel in the Mumbai local trains, for some selected hours in the day. However, WR has rejected the requests and has asked a meeting to discuss the same.

Western Railways declines permission for women to travel by Mumbai Local Trains

Hours after Maharashtra Government gave a nod for women to travel by the Mumbai Local Trains, officials from the Western Railway (WR), on Friday, October 16, 2020, said that the services cannot resume for the women, and has declined the permission for their commute.

As per reports, officials have decided that the services can resume only after discussions are held in a meeting between the State and Railway Authorities. Post this, the team will draw guidelines for the same, and permission would follow. 

Currently, the services in Mumbai local trains are limited only to the workers from the essential services. The general public is not been allowed, and this has raised concerns as several have complained about their daily life, jobs, and business being affected severely. Millions of people in MMR live away from the city and depend on the railways for their daily commute, and the delay in approval is only adding to the troubles and inconvenience.

Mumbai’s local train services are the lifeline of the metropolis and were shut down on March 23, 2020, as part of the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the government, a few months later, permitted the officials to allow workers from the essential services to use the trains for the daily commute. 

Following this, another letter was sent by the State Government recently which stated that the services can resume for women, however, the WR has clarified that approval needs to be taken from the board before approving the same. Keeping this in mind, railway officials and members from the government will have a meeting to quantify the number of passengers to be permitted. Guidelines and SOPs will be drawn about maintaining social distancing and other safety measures. Following this, a final call will be taken on the matter. The information regarding the same was given by Sumit Thakur, Chief PRO-WR.

A statement was released by the officials which stated that it would not be possible to permit ladies during the stipulated hours from October 17, 2020. As per the request sent by the government, women were expected to travel in the Mumbai local trains between 11 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm until the last service. However, clarification is awaited in this matter.

Partial service for local trains was announced on June 15, 2020. Currently, a special pass is being issued to commuters. Only members with QR-code based passes are allowed to board the trains. Earlier this month, the government also allowed Dabbawallas to commute via local trains as their services were dependant on the Mumbai local.

Observing the increasing number of cases, the state government is permitting activities in a phase-wise manner. While most services have resumed under the unlock 5.0 guidelines, officials are considering permissions for gyms, private libraries, movie theatres, schools, and educational institutes, to reopen soon under the next few phases of the ‘Mission Begin Again’ initiative.

Recently, the government also permitted the Mumbai Metro services to resume in a graded manner from October 19, 2020. 

Besides this, new guidelines have been issued by the state which permits 50 per cent of the teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to schools at a time for online teaching and other activities. B2B Exhibitions and local weekly bazaars will also reopen soon.