On October 16, the Maharashtra government sent a letter to Central and Western Railways (who together run the Mumbai suburban network) to allow all women commuters to travel by train, mostly during non-peak hours.

All girls commuters can board native trains from 11am to 3pm and from 7pm onwards beginning immediately because the Railways, after 4 days of letter-exchanges and friction with the state authorities, lastly gave its approval on Tuesday.

“I am happy to announce that Railways will allow women to travel on suburban trains from 21 Oct between 11am and 3pm & after 7pm. We were always ready and with the receipt of letter from Maharashtra government today, we have allowed this travel,” Railways minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

Mumbai’s native trains, utilized by round eight million individuals each day pre-Covid-19, had been suspended on March 23 after the state went right into a lockdown to cease the unfold of the virus. Some companies, nonetheless, resumed on July 15, with the state permitting solely important companies employees, in another way abled individuals and most cancers sufferers to make use of the trains.

The Central Railway at the moment operates 706 each day companies, whereas the Western Railway runs 700 companies as in opposition to their common of 1,774 and 1,367 respectively.

On October 16, the Maharashtra authorities despatched a letter to Central and Western Railways (who collectively run the Mumbai suburban community) to permit all girls commuters to journey by prepare, largely throughout non-peak hours.

The Railways, nonetheless, was reluctant to do the identical for the worry of crowding . While one of many ruling events, Congress, blamed the Railway ministry, BJP in addition to railway officers stated they had been being cautious. Maharashtra chief secretary Sanjay Kumar on Tuesday despatched a reminder to each zonal railways.

Also Read: Congress questions BJP over delay in allowing women in local trains in Mumbai

The girls commuters allowed in non-peak timings. should buy tickets, however won’t require QR code (as was the observe with staff from designated important companies).

“Four ladies special local trains will be added from Wednesday. A total of six ladies special trains will be operated. Further increase in services will be done after inspecting the passenger flow.” stated a senior railway official.

“Between 11am and 3pm and after 7pm ,there will be no checking of women for QR code or identity card and only tickets will be checked, as all women are allowed. Others will be checked for QR code and identity cards in addition to valid tickets. Except for emergency category staff, as identified by the state and women (between 11 am and 3pm and after 7pm), others are requested not to rush to the stations,” stated an announcement from Central and Western Railway.

After a spherical of conferences final month and early this month, Maharashtra on October 16 wrote to the final managers of Central and Western Railways to permit all girls commuters to journey in non-peak hours in suburban trains.

The letter, signed by Kishorraje Nimbalkar, secretary, reduction and rehabilitation, was made public by the federal government.

Also Read: 53% Covid-19 patients from 30-59 age group, 5% children, teenagers: Mumbai civic body

This was step one by the authorities in the direction of opening of the suburban trains, the lifeline of metropolis, for the widespread individuals.

The Railways, nonetheless, shot again a letter to the state authorities, saying it was not attainable for them to permit the extra pressure instantly except the evaluation of attainable passenger burden was executed.

The Railways had requested the state for an estimate of the rise in variety of commuters, together with different modalities.

“The timings can still be an issue. This is because commuters arriving on railway platforms before the permitted time schedule can lead to crowding,” stated a railway official on Tuesday.

The delay in resuming companies proven by the Railways led to friction between state authorities and Railways during the last 4 days.

Nimbalkar wrote one other letter to the Railways, saying the choice introduced by the state was in accordance with the a number of conferences held with all stakeholders together with Railways. “Latest of the meetings was held on October 13 and chaired by chief secretary Sanjay Kumar. The date of commencement was strategically chosen on weekend so that there would be no much of burden on the rail services. The Railways in its best capacity can assess the potential burden and plan accordingly,” the letter acknowledged.

Chief secretary Sanjay Kumar, who had intervened and had spoken to the secretary within the ministry of dwelling affairs on Sunday to expedite the matter, wrote a recent letter to Central and Western Railways once more on Tuesday morning, instructing them to implement the choice on the earliest.

Also Read: Railways suggest colour-coded QR system for Mumbai train commuters based on staggered office timings

“As per the decision taken during joint meetings with all stakeholders, we have requested you to allow all women commuters to travel during non-peak hours from October 17. The decision is yet to be implemented. The women commuters may be allowed to board the trains at the earliest,” the letter learn.

The letter-war additionally noticed a political blame sport between ruling and opposition events as Congress raised questions if the Railways was intentionally making the difficulty advanced.

Maharashtra Congress basic secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant on Tuesday stated, “The state government held four meetings with Railway officials regarding allowing women commuters to travel by suburban trains in the MMR during non-peak hours from October 17. However, on October 16, railway authorities expressed their inability to give permission. There is a standard operating procedure (SOP) in place as far as train services are concerned. Why does Railways want a fresh permission?”

Congress’s political assault got here within the backdrop of BJP’s statewide protest final week for the demand of opening of temples within the state. The BJP tried to nook the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) authorities, comprising Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)and Congress, by touching spiritual sentiments. Sawant questioned why BJP leaders, who’ve been advocating for opening of temples, are silent over the delay in operation of railways for ladies.

Keshav Upadhye, BJP spokesperson, stated, “The BJP or any of its leaders had nothing to do with the issue. Railway Board took its decision in due course and following all procedures. We do not take allegations by Sachin Sawant seriously. ”

BJP’s vice-president Madhav Bhandari stated, “There was nothing wrong if Railway ministry raised a few questions over the modalities to operate additional services and took some time to complete the procedure. The MVA government had goofed up during the operations of Shramik trains meant for the migrant workers in May. It could not even arrange for adequate number of passengers after a fleet of trains was made available by the Railway ministry. The Congress has no right blame us as it has snapped its ties with real issues related to the common man.”

While welcoming the Railway choice, Sawant later stated, “It was a deliberate attempt by BJP leaders to stop the implementation of the state government’s decision. The announcement by Railway minister Goyal does not mention tissues raised by the Railways and has simply says that they are beginning operations after request by chief secretary of Maharashtra. This means the issues and reasons raised earlier by Railways were a sham,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the state authorities has convened a gathering with Railways once more to debate permitting extra commuters from personal sector by rolling out staggering of workplace timings in close to future.

“Allowing women in non-peak hours is the first step towards unlocking train services for all. We are taking stock of how much crowd can the trains handle keeping in mind social distancing. This is also an attempt to encourage the private sector to go in for staggered work hours. In the next phase, we may allow men to travel at odd hours, to see if it works. Senior citizens and families could be allowed at non-peak hours. The meeting convened on Wednesday is in continuation of the series of meetings being held deliberately over staggering of office timings,” stated a state authorities official.

From Wednesday, a complete of six girls particular trains shall be operated.

Women commuters which have a legitimate railway go forward of March 22 may even be allowed to journey by native trains. Local prepare companies had been suspended from March 23.

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