After holding 7 million commuters to ransom for 24 hours,motormen of the Western and Central Railways called off their agitation on Tuesday evening and resumed work,but not before crippling the financial capital,compelling people to stay at home or add to the chaos on the clogged arterial roads in their bid to get to work. Railway officials said 20 per cent of services on WR and 30 per cent on CR were operational until late afternoon.
Following a meeting with Home Minister R R Patil,train services resumed with a promise from the railway administration that the 20 dismissed motormen will be reinstated. On Monday,174 motormen were detained and arrested by the Government Railway Police and the railway administration had issued dismissal orders to 20 motormen. Patil assured that all those taken into police custody will be released.
The railways tried to make alternative arrangements,rushing in engines and drivers from Nagpur,Bhusaval and Ahmedabad. Train services were run using conventional coaches along with diesel engines,and even with EMU rakes run by electric engines. Additional buses were running all day,but all these efforts could not fill the huge gap in Mumbais transportation needs. The railways ferry
70 lakh commuters daily while buses and taxis together account for 48 lakh commuters.
Earlier in the day,the Union government moved the Bombay High Court,seeking that the striking motormen be directed to resume duties. Passing the order in the afternoon,the High Court said the “situation in the city shocks the conscience of the court. A few people have held the city to ransom and disrupted normal life by adopting means which cannot be permitted.” The court ordered the striking motormen to return to work immediately,assuring that their “rights would be protected” if they complied with the order.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan also intervened and negotiated with train drivers to end their hunger strike. A fast track committee was formed to look into their “genuine demands” and will be submitting a report by June 15.