Our daily lifestyle has been impacted majorly owing to the coronavirus-induced pandemic. From going to malls, theatres and multiplexes, a general store or travelling across the world and commuting in Mumbai locals.
In an astounding disclosure, for the first time ever, Mumbai’s lifeline, local trains were shut down for the tenure of nearly a year for the general public, which means only essential workers were allowed to commute. As per the Maharashtra government’s guidelines, the section of people involved in the essential category, however, kept on transposing.
However, it would not be erroneous to say that it was the time when every Mumbaikar realised that this pandemic has surely changed one’s life. Prior to that, nothing had been able to keep Mumbai away from returning to its normalcy for such a long duration.
Now, with the COVID-19 cases dropping down significantly, a brawl between the Maharashtra government and Bombay High Court (HC) has been going on whether to allow the unvaccinated people to commute in the local.
Additionally, fully vaccinated daily commuters have started complaining about the pre-COVID era rush which assures regularity across the city. Moreover, owing to this, the social distancing norm has gone for a toss. Therefore, fearing extra passenger rush, commuters are against the allowance of those not jabbed.
Meanwhile, it has come to light that despite curbs being put on non-vaccinated to travel in public transport, the railway authorities have discontinued the practice of keeping a check on Universal Travel Pass (UTP) while providing single tickets.
A resident of Mira Road, on the condition of anonymity, said: “Vaccination is a choice. It cannot be enforced upon anyone. Despite not having taken a single dose, I have recently travelled by local trains several times and the tickets are being issued to everyone without keeping a track of UTP, though it wasn’t the case earlier.”
Arguing on the same, another commuter, who is a media professional, shared: “A few months back, the offices had resumed full-fledged, however, due to non-completion of second jab, just a day prior to the 14th day of vaccination, the railway staff denied to issue the pass to me. After a pinch of quarrel, I was given a daily return ticket “at my own risk.” I graciously took it and travelled by train as it was not economically and physically feasible to commute every now and then by cab from Mira Road to Dadar.”
While the Uddhav Thackeray-led government is stern on not allowing those without vaccination, the HC is voicing its discontent on this decision.
Yusuf Khan, a resident of Mahim, expressed, “Now that more than 97% of the adult population is fully vaccinated and nearly 100% vaccination of single dose has been done, it is illogical to put restrictions and distinguish between commuters.”
To the fortune, after almost more than a year, Mumbai locals were thrown open for those who were fully vaccinated in August 2021. The vaccination drive had begun in January 2021. Besides, it had come to light that the decision did not go smooth for many as things were coming to sanity with vaccination available. Since private and government offices had resumed with at least 50 per cent capacity, commuters urged to allow partially vaccinated people as the time frame between two jabs were nearly three months.
As work from home, the new normal for Mumbaikars, remained in place till not many privileged complained about the resumption of the local trains. On the other hand, those who needed to go out regularly to earn their bread and butter such as daily wage workers had demanded to allow them in the suburban network.