Ganesh Chaturthi 2020: First Ganpati trains to Konkan leave today
WR, CR finally decide to run 182 special services from Mumbai to Konkan from Aug 15 to Sept 5; experts caution passengers to follow protocols
After much dilly-dallying, the Maharashtra government on Friday finally announced Ganeshotsav special trains to the Konkan region. However, passengers have been told to strictly adhere to physical distancing norms and quarantine measures set in place by the state government.
The first train will depart today on Central Railway (CR) route. Western Railway (WR) and CR will together run 182 trips to the Konkan region for the Ganpati festival. While CR will run 162 trips, starting August 15, WR will start its first special service on Monday covering 20 trips.
ST buses have already been ferrying people to Konkan. Pic/Satej Shinde
The ticket booking "with special charges" will start today. Passengers will have to adhere to all the norms and standard operating procedures related to COVID-19 during the travel, a note said.
4 CR, 3 WR routes
CR will run on four routes — CSMT to Sawantwadi, Kurla LTT to Kudal, LTT to Ratnagiri and LTT to Sawantwadi — from August 15 to September 5. WR will run between August 17 and 27 — two each on Mumbai Central-Sawantwadi Road and Bandra Terminus-Sawantwadi Road, and one on Bandra Terminus-Kudal. CR will run about eight trains daily during the period and WR five trains on specific days of the week.
WR will run trains from Mumbai Central to Sawantwadi Road, and Bandra Terminus to Sawantwadi Road and Kudal. Representation pic
Every year, lakhs of people from Mumbai and Pune travel to their native places in the Konkan region for the Ganpati festival, which starts on August 22 this time around. Activist and passenger Akshay Mahapadi said the trains will provide much relief to the people returning to Mumbai, Palghar and Thane from Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad districts after the Ganpati festival.
'Night trains a problem'
"However, all trains to Mumbai from August 25 to September 5 will be an overnight journey. The trains will reach the stations of Konkan Railway, like Chiplun, Khed, Veer, Mangaon, etc, after 10 pm. This will be problematic as these stations are away from the city and other modes of transport are limited during the pandemic. Hence, the railways should plan some trips between Mumbai and Chiplun in daytime," Mahapadi added.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has made 10-day home quarantine mandatory for the visitors after reaching their respective destinations.
'Onus is on commuters'
Now that finally both state transport and trains are available, the onus is on commuters and local administration to take it ahead without hassle. The screening and quarantine will need to be followed meticulously, said Yeshwant Jadyar, a member of the Konkan Passenger Association, who had been fighting for the trains.
Another member, Ajay Parab, said the government was cautious because Konkan does not have enough quarantine facilities and has poor medical infrastructure to deal with epidemics. Already, 11,000 advance bookings have been done for state transport buses. Trains will add more crowd. People will need to be really careful, he added.
Last day that the Ganpati special trains to the Konkan region will run.
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