Mumbai trains back on track

Maharashtra governments carrot and stick approach pays dividends

Mumbai trains back on track


The crippled suburban train services affected over 65 lakh people in Mumbai, as nearly 1,100 motormen resorted to strike action demanding better pay.  Thanks to the strike, half of the city taxies also stayed off the road as most drivers could not report for work.

Leaders of the striking motormen met state Home Minister R R Patil, who promised to mediate between them and the railways over their demands for higher pay and better working condition. There was also a threat to invoke ESMA, which empowers a government to use force to maintain services like trains or water supply and imposes still penalty on violators.

“The state government took the lead to resolve the crisis as normal life was thrown out of gear due to the strike,” Patil told reporters at the secretariat.

During the day, as many as 170 striking motormen were arrested for creating obstruction at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, headquarters of the Central Railway.

The state government also set a three-hour deadline to the rest of the striking motormen to resume their duties. It had a desired impact and a delegation of their leaders called on Patil.
Railway authorities said only 20 per cent suburban trains had operated till Tuesday evening. Twenty motormen were dismissed for refusing to report for work. Devendra Yadav, convener of the Motormen Union, said that the railways promised them "in writing" on January 26 that they would increase the wages, "but nothing has been done in the last two months."

The government has ordered all exam centres to allow students to write their papers even if they reached their venues late.
DH News Service

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