When Mumbai stops work, there is hell to pay. On a day when most Mumbaikars took the day off to avoid being left stranded on platforms in the wake of the strike by railway motormen, Maharashtra’s political guns boomed in Delhi and Mumbai to end the impasse. By Tuesday evening, the motormen strike was called off after the strikers were promised a fast-track committee to look into their demands by June 15. The day’s business loss: Rs100 crore. Chief minister Ashok Chavan moved the PMO to get involved. He made a simple point: while he could invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act to arrest the motormen, if trains didn’t run, the city would have to close down for three or four days to avoid law and order problems. In Delhi, Parliament came to a standstill when MPs from Maharashtra attacked railway minister Mamata Banerjee, who was busy preparing for Kolkata’s municipal polls, for failing to resolve the motormen’s issues despite being given adequate notice. Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Raj Thackeray, realising that the public mood was against the union holding the city to ransom, warned the motormen to return to work or face their wrath. NCP chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar talked to Mamata Banerjee on the importance of resolving the crisis fast. The motormen were rapped on the knuckles by the high court as well. A division bench comprising acting chief justice JN Patel and justice SC Dharmadhikari said the “situation in the city shocks the conscience of the court.” The strike, which brought Mumbai to a standstill for 36 hours, was called off after a meeting chaired by home minister RR Patil was told by the Railway Board that the motormen’s charter of demands would be considered by a fast-track committee. Bureau report – NMTV News.
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