Ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, demand for transport to Konkan grows

Updated: 15 July, 2020 07:39 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Ahead of Ganeshotsav, MPs, MLAs, passenger associations want SOP for passengers to self-quarantine after travel

Devotees take Andhericha Samrat Ganpati idol to the pandal. File pic
Devotees take Andhericha Samrat Ganpati idol to the pandal. File pic

With Ganeshotsav a little over a month away, politicians and activists have demanded more trains and buses so that people can travel to Konkan to celebrate the biggest festival of the state. Local MPs, MLAs and passenger associations have asked the state government to release a standard operating procedure (SOP) for people to self-quarantine after travelling to their villages before the festival.

"There is a huge population that goes to Konkan for Ganeshotsav from my constituency. I have not only written to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal for additional trains halting at Konkan, but also to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for more buses so that physical distance rule is followed during the travel," said Mumbai North East MP Manoj Kotak.

State transport minister met with all stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss about the travel arrangements for Ganeshotsav
State transport minister met with all stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss about the travel arrangements for Ganeshotsav

Akshay Mahapadi, a Thane-based activist, said there was a lot of confusion about travel to and from Konkan as "train booking is not permitted". "The railways can run trains, but passengers in the state cannot book tickets. And limited buses are allowed on the route. Migrants have gone back to their native states and come back, then why such limitations for those within the state?" he asked.

He added that inadequate travel arrangements will lead to chaos "during Ganeshotsav, which is one of the most popular festivals for which hundreds of people travel to Konkan. The government will realise our demand was viable only when citizens begin the journey on their own and jam the highways," he said.

Mahapadi said he also tried to book a train ticket, but got a message that it was not permitted. He has shot off a letter to Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab.
Yeshwant Jadyar, the secretary of Vasai Sawantwadi Pravasi Sanghatna, said the government urgently needs to come up with a solution.

"Now is the time for them to sit with the village heads and transport managers and decide. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses should be started well in advance and if required e-passes should be made available to avoid exploitation. They may also test and examine the passengers for COVID-19," Jadyar stated in the petition to the government.

"The state government should also recommend to the railway board to start slow services on Konkan route, and ST buses should be connected to the interior villages," the petition stated.

Transport department officials said Parab met all the stakeholders at Mantralaya on Tuesday to discuss the issue and a decision will be taken soon.

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First Published: 15 July, 2020 07:19 IST

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