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In an attempt to contain the spread of virus, the Maharashtra government has issued a new order that makes QR code-based e-pass mandatory for essential workers traveling in Mumbai locals, from July 30. The train services resumed in Mumbai on June 15 and after one month of operations, the QR code system for ticketing, has finally been set up.

E-passes to provide entry

In a new circular issued by the Maharashatra Government, the Mumbai suburban trains will only allow essential workers with a QR code based e-pass and a valid train ticket to board the train. Since these e-passes(electronic passes) will only be provided to the essential workers through a systematic procedure, other passengers will be prevented from using the Mumbai locals. This protocol will also ensure less crowding in the trains.

Though the QR code generated e-pass was placed as a pivotal point for travel in the Mumbai locals, the digital system took over a month to set up since the trains had resumed function since June 15. In the absence of an operational QR code system, essential workers were showing their ID cards at station entry points to board the trains.

How to procure e-passes?

The Maharashtra Government has issued detailed guidelines stating that the e-passes will be issued after following the given procedure-

The HR Department will appoint a nodal officer who will formulate the list of essential employees in the prescribed format. The soft and hard copy of this list has to be submitted to the IT cell of the Police Commissioner's Office before July 27. This list will contain basic information of the employees including official ID number, department, address and the days on which the employee needs to travel. On registration of this information, the second phase shall start. The employees will receive an SMS to a web link. The employees will add the required details by clicking on the web-link and resubmit the form to the nodal authorities, following whose approval QR codes will be generated for the employees.

Under this new system, people will have to get their IDs scanned at the entry points of the stations which will verify their identity through their photos in the e-pass. Initially the scanning procedures will be carried out using a mobile application, however, the talks of installing independent scanners at entry points is underway.

This procedure and protocol are however limited to the Western and Central Railways in Mumbai. The Harbour Line is yet to resume operations in the city.

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E-passes are here to ensure lesser crowd in trains and a safer commute for people. Let's hope this brings about a significant change in current situation and helps the administration in bringing life back to normal.

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