Currently Mumbai Residents Carry Only Essential Services Personnel (File) | Photo credit: PTI
Bombay: The Chief Justice of the Mumbai High Court on Thursday suggested that arrangements could be made for a separate local train pass for fully vaccinated people in Mumbai. On the issue of allowing fully vaccinated people to travel even on local trains, the case has been adjourned for next Thursday.
Earlier this week, the High Court asked the government of Maharashtra why vaccinated people could not be allowed to travel on local trains in Mumbai. What was even the purpose of taking the two doses of the vaccine if citizens were to stay at home even after receiving the anti-COVID-19 injections, a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Judge GS Kulkarni asked.
The High Court has heard a slew of public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyers and individuals, asking that lawyers be allowed to travel on local trains and subways. The state government, however, argued that disaster management authorities were reluctant to allow lawyers, clerks and court staff to travel by local train.
Reluctant Disaster Management Authority: State
“The disaster management authority, however, is a bit reluctant. This time (during the second wave of COVID-19), only frontline health workers and government personnel are allowed to use the train.” Maharashtra Attorney General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said.
A similar demand was also raised by the Maharashtra Congress, which claimed that fully vaccinated people would be allowed to resume train travel.
“Local trains are a lifeline for many commuters in Mumbai. Due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, many people are already struggling to make a living, and with the shutdown of the local train service, they cannot not go to their place of work. Now as the number of positive cases decreases, the government must consider restarting local trains of those who have taken two doses of the Covid vaccine, “said Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap , quoted by the ANI news agency.
Maharashtra was one of the worst-hit states in the second wave of the deadly pandemic. The state government therefore restricted local train operations to essential services only.