The Maharashtra government is working on a plan to open up local trains in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) without causing overcrowding.
The local train services are considered the lifeline of Mumbai, the financial powerhouse of India.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray chaired a meeting on Monday evening to discuss the full resumption of local train services.
“A decision in this regard will be taken soon. Since the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to pass, the meeting discussed ways to resume local train services for all without causing overcrowding,” Thackeray said.
As of now Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) are running limited services.
Those present at the meeting including CM’s Principal Advisor Ajoy Mehta, Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary Vikas Kharge, Secretary Abasaheb Jarhad, Mumbai’s Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and Disaster Management Unit Chief Abhay Yavalkar.
CR General Manager Sanjeev Mittal and his WR counterpart Alok Kansal too were present in the meeting.
The train services were shut down on March 22, when the day-long 'janata curfew' was imposed, and due to the subsequent lockdown period in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On June 15, skeletal services restarted for people engaged in essential services, state and central governments, banks, and so on.
Over the last five months, the services have been increased and more people have been allowed in trains.
More than 80 lakh normally people use Mumbai's suburban network daily which is spread across six lines covering 390 odd km and 157 stations in the Mumbai metropolitan region comprising five districts of Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban, Thane, Palghar and Raigad.
The CR-WR used to collectively run over 3,000 services daily in the MMR – and the plan is being worked out to bring it to that level and at the same time ensure that the trains are not crowded.