(Eds: Adding info) Mumbai, Jan 29 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Friday approved resumption of suburban train services in Mumbai for the general public from February 1, a state official said here.
A railway official said the state government's proposal has been conveyed to the competent authorities and a formal announcement regarding it is expected soon.
State Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar asked the Chief General Managers of Western and Central Railway to allow local train commuters to travel as per the laid down schedule, the state government official said.
Local trains have been off bounds for the general public since March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They resumed in June for the essential services workers.
In the proposal sent to the Railway Board, the chief secretary said operations of local trains be allowed from the start of services for the day to 7 am and then again from 12 pmto 4 pm, and from 9 pm to the closure of local train services for the day with effect from February 1, 2021.
'The local train services will be restricted to the essential services staff only from 7 amto 12 pm and from 4 pm to 9 pm as is being permitted currently,' he said.
The services of the local trains, considered the lifeline of Mumbai, were resumed for the emergency and essential services staff in June this year.
Later on, the authorities permitted women to travel in locals during the non-peak hours.
During normal times before the lockdown, the Central Railway (CR) used to operate 1,774 services daily, while the Western Railway (WR) would run 1,367 services on the suburban network.
Currently, the railway authorities are operating 2,985 services, about 95 per cent of the total 3141 services, on Mumbai's suburban network.
Of these, 204 special suburban services were added on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, the government said in its circular regarding the local trains that it will request all establishments tostagger their work schedule so that the staff is able to avail services of the suburban trains as per the timings mentioned.
A statement from the Chief Minister's Office said CM Uddhav Thackeray had recently held a meeting with the railway officials, wherein he had called for ensuring that there is no crowding in local trains.
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 NP