The Maharashtra government has requested general managers of Central and Western Railway to allow all women to travel on local trains in the Mumbai region from Saturday. A senior railway official said the proposal has been forwarded to the Railway Board.
Currently, only restricted categories of persons, including essential services staff, are allowed to travel by local trains in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
In letters sent to both the zonal railways on Thursday, state Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation secretary Kishor Raje Nimbalkar said the train services should be made available to women passengers from 11 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm onwards till the end of the services for the day.
QR code passes — currently given to those who are entitled to travel — should not be required for women for travelling during these time slots, he said. The frequency of trains should also be increased, the letter said.
Railway authorities in Mumbai said the proposal has been forwarded to the Railway Board for approval. A senior railway official said the board’s nod is necessary for this decision.
“Matter has been referred to Railway Board. Once the approval is received from Railway Board, then such permission can be communicated to you. Without getting permission, it would not be possible to permit ladies during the stated hours from 17th October 2020 onwards in suburban trains,” read an official statement.
The Western Railway, meanwhile, also wrote a letter to the Maharashtra government, requesting it to assess the quantum of passengers that is likely to increase, so that COVID-19 safety protocols can be planned. It also proposed a meeting between Railway officials and the state government to work out the modalities.