(Eds: Updating with railway minister's statement) Mumbai, Jan 29 (PTI) Local train services in Mumbai region will restart for the general public from February 1, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced on Friday.
The announcement came a few hours after the Maharashtra government proposed to resume the services for all commuters, Goyal said on Twitter.
Travel by local trains, lifeline for millions of people living in Mumbai and surrounding satellite towns, was severely restricted after the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020.
'My dear Mumbai citizens, for the convenience of all of you, the Mumbai local train will be started from February 1,' Goyal said.
He informed that for the general public, local trains will be available in three time slots: from the start of the day's services to 7am; 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and 9:00 pm to the end of the day.
As per the instructions of the Maharashtra government, between 7:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm only those engaged in essential services will be allowed to travel, the railway minister said.
'I urge all of you to follow all the necessary rules and guidelines related to Coronavirus during the journey.
Any kind of negligence can become a problem for us and others as well. If you will be safe, then everyone traveling with you will be safe,' Goyal said.
Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra government gave its nod for the resumption of suburban train services for all.
State Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar asked the Chief General Managers of Western and Central Railways to allow local train commuters to travel as per the laid down schedule, a state government official said.
The services of the local trains were resumed for the emergency and essential services staff in June last year.
Later on, the authorities permitted women to travel in locals during the non-peak hours.
Before the pandemic struck, the Central Railway was operating 1,774 suburban services daily, while the Western Railway operated 1,367 services.
Currently, the two railway authorities are operating 2,985 services, about 95 per cent of the total 3,141 services, on Mumbai's suburban network. Of these, 204 special suburban services were added on Friday morning.
The state government said in its circular about local trains that it will request all establishments tostagger their work schedule so that employees can benefit from the new schedule.
The government also directed that shops in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) be allowed to operate till 11 pm, and restaurants till 1 am.
'Thirty per cent limit for the staff in these establishments will continue to be in force and they will be allowed to operate as per the SoPs issued for daily operations of the same by various departments of the government,' it said. PTI MR KK VT NP KRK KRK