CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, on Friday urged Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal to instruct the Southern Railway to resume Electric Multiple Unit/sub-urban trains in and around Chennai, after complying to Standard Operating Procedures for Covid-19.
The CM, in his letter to the Union Minister, said the resumption of EMU/sub-urban trains would greatly help the general public and facilitate in the quick revival of the economy. Palaniswami recalled that the SR has resumed operation of a number of inter-State and intra-State trains in Tamil Nadu already. Similarly, the State has permitted public transport including Metro rail to resume service.
Meanwhile, the State had already made a request on September 2 to resume EMU and sub-urban trains in and around Chennai for the general public. Currently, railways operate about 42 workmen specials to facilitate transportation of railway employees and state government employees engaged in essential services.
According to official records, about 11.24 lakh passengers travelled in four suburban routes - Chennai - Arakkonam, Chennai - Chengalpattu, Chennai - Gummidipundi and Chennai Beach - Velachery MRTS between April 2018 and March 2019.
Among others, lockdown restriction had a severe impact on the office goers in Jolarpettai - Arakkonam - Chennai route. The regular commuters travelling in Chengalpattu - Beach route can either use their own vehicle or MTC buses.
However, in Jolarpettai - Arakkonam section which has over 4.5 lakh commuters a day, no faster mode of transportation is available for daily commutation other than suburban trains.
“It takes nearly 3.5 hours to reach Chennai by bus from Arakkonam,” said Naina Masilamani, member of DRUCC, Chennai.