Despite the Maharashtra government's decision to allow everyone to board the Mumbai local trains, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis sought more flexibility in the timings. As per the state government, only essential workers shall be allowed to board the trains from 7 am to noon and from 4 pm to 9 pm. On the other hand, all passengers can travel in the Mumbai local from the first train in the morning to 7 am, from noon to 4 pm and from 9 pm to the last train of the day.
Since the commencement of the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown on March 25, 2020, the Mumbai Suburban Railway has been restricted for general passengers. Speaking to the media on Friday, the former Maharashtra CM stressed that the people working in the private sector are facing a lot of difficulties owing to the inability to travel by train. In view of this, he urged the Uddhav Thackeray-led government to open more time slots for all passengers to board the Mumbai local. Currently, there are 44,282 novel coronavirus cases in Maharashtra while 19,23,187 patients have recovered and 50,944 deaths have been reported.
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis remarked, "I feel that the trains services have to be opened up more gradually. This is because the people in the working class are facing tremendous difficulties as they are not allowed to travel by local trains. That's why I feel that the government has to take a proper decision regarding the timings."
Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra CM announced that the new changes pertaining to the Mumbai Suburban Railway travel shall be applicable from February 1. This decision came days after Thackeray chaired a meeting to review the plan to open local trains to all. Observing that crowding will be avoided, the state government has requested the offices and establishments located in Mumbai and the suburban areas to introduce staggered timings in wake of the available slots for the employees to travel. Subsequently, Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer revealed that the competent authority is yet to give approval for this new proposal.