MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government on Sunday imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (prohibit the assembly of four or more people) in all urban areas, and discontinued all bus (with exceptions) and Metro rail services till March 31. Also, as part of the government’s anti-Covid-19 measures, the railway ministry announced the suspension of Mumbai’s suburban rail network – local trains run by Central and Western Railway – as well as CR and WR’s long-distance trains till the month-end. The nine-day shutdown of Mumbai’s locals is unprecedented. Only goods trains carrying essential items will be allowed to operate to and from Mumbai. Health minister Rajesh Tope said the state is considering the closing of state borders.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said that while state bus and private bus services stand discontinued from Monday onwards, bus services within city limits, like BEST, will only be available for those in essential services, who need to show I-cards before boarding. He said government offices will work at 5% attendance, down from 25% announced earlier this week.
“The self-restraint and co-operation shown by the public on Sunday was commendable. I expect the same to continue till the March 31. Shutdowns have been announced till March 31, but if needed they may be extended,” said Thackeray.
Central Railway chief spokesperson Shivaji Sutar told TOI stations will be locked up and guarded by the RPF from Monday onwards till the shutdown ends. “Our trains will be at the yards and only goods trains will be allowed to operate,” he said. The situation will be the same for Western Railway, said a WR official. On a weekday, nearly 80 lakh commuters travel by local trains in Mumbai.
On refunds, a ministry circular said: “To make it more convenient for passengers, full refund for all cancelled trains may be taken till June 21. Adequate arrangements shall be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations.”
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