Mumbai: A strike by motormen of Mumbai’s famed suburban trains, which threw city travel out of gear, was called off on Tuesday evening, following an assurance that their demands would be looked into, officials said.
The strike, which started on Monday with motormen going on a fast to demand a pay hike, left thousands of office goers, college students and businessmen stranded during morning rush hour on Tuesday.
The suburban railway is Mumbai’s lifeline and ferries at least six million commuters during peak hours every day.
Stranded: Chaos at Mumbai’s Andheri station as strike by motormen disrupted public life. The stir was finally called off on Tuesday evening following an assurance that their demands would be looked into. Satish Bate / HT
The decision to bring Mumbai’s lifeline on track came shortly after the state government hinted invoking provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act.
“After discussion they called off the strike,” Maharashtra home minister R.R. Patil told reporters. “The government took the lead to resolve the crisis as normal life was thrown out of gear due to the strike and people had to suffer lots of hardships.”
He said a committee would be formed to assess the demands of the motormen and submit its report by 15 June.
A.K. Singh, public relations officer of Central Railway, said discussions had been held between the state home minister and the chairman of the Railway Board.
Parliament was also disrupted on Tuesday over the strike, with the opposition parties demanding an immediate solution on the issue. Lawmakers had halted proceedings in both houses of Parliament delaying discussion on the Finance Bill. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha later in the evening.
Cancelled trains early on Tuesday left commuters fuming, as taxies and autos, the other public transport in the city, besides crowded buses, were stretched.
Earlier on Tuesday, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray— who had earlier supported the strike—said he would fight with the government on genuine demands of the motormen and asked them to resume work immediately.
PTI contributed to this story.