Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: Absence of government guidelines leads to traffic jams at Konkan checkpost
Kharepatan checkpost official says there is a lot of confusion on ground as the state government is yet to issue guidelines on travel during the festival, which will kick off in the third week of August
With less than a month left for the Ganpati festival to start, the state government is yet to issue guidelines on how people would be allowed to travel before and during the celebrations. As a result, this often leads to traffic jams near the Kharepatan checkpost, as passengers from Mumbai and Pune travelling to the Konkan region for the festival have to undergo multiple checks. This in turn creates a lot of confusion on ground and affects the overall unlock process.
Lots of confusion
According to transport and railway officials, since Day 1 there has been no clarity on a number of processes, the latest being the implementation of QR codes and travel regulations for Ganpati festival.
Sources said that after the massive goof-ups in handling migrant trains and failing to timely handover the lists of passengers to various states, the Maharashtra government decided to operate local trains for essential workers. "The railways gradually started the services, but the state government failed to issue a proper list of essential workers that it had identified. However, then they decided to implement QR codes for tickets," a senior railway official said.
"There were issues on the ground. In the absence of a proper list, TCs and cops were identifying essential workers as per their understanding. The QR codes were supposed to come into force a week after the local trains started operating, but the state government issued a circular on July 17 setting a 10-day deadline for registrations with the Mumbai police and said that the QR codes would be implemented by July 30. It is past July but there is no official word from the government on what the next deadline is. Though unofficially it has been conveyed that August 10 is the next due date," said another official.
Sources further said that there was a lot of confusion after mail\express trains were started across the country. The state government, however, imposed a regulation restricting train travel within the state and suspended ticket bookings. But at the same time, they started operating buses and opened up public transport.
Speaking about the traffic jams at the Kharepatan check post, an official said that there were queues at the entry point daily because every passenger had to undergo thermal checks and other tests. "Those with COVID-19 symptoms are being sent to Oras district hospital and others are being hand-stamped for home or institutional quarantine," he added. While transport minister Anil Parab did not respond for a comment, in a media briefing he said the guidelines would be issued at the appropriate time.
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