170 motormen detained under ESMA (Update:Motormen)

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Mumbai, May 4 (ANI): At least 170 motormen have been detained till now under the Essential Services Maintenance ACT (ESMA) after it was imposed by the Maharashtra Government on Tuesday to force them resume their work with immediate effect.

State Chief Minister Ashok Chavan took the decision after an emergency meeting with senior railway police and state administration officials.

Earlier, the Central Government had given a green signal to the State Government to impose ESMA on the striking motormen.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left parties are, however, criticising the government for imposing ESMA.

Earlier this morning, the Central Railway suspended 20 motormen under the Railways Act for their refusal to end their strike, terming it as illegal.

Train services on Central and Western lines in Mumbai continue to remain badly affected, as the motormen have refused to end their indefinite hunger strike.

Central Railway authorities said they would run only 30 per cent of their services today.

The motormen's strike threw life out of gear for the city's 70 lakh train commuters.

Around 1,000 motormen of both Central and Western Railways went on a hunger strike to press for higher pay scales and allowances from Monday morning, causing immense inconvenience to daily commuters.

The Railway Ministry contends that the motormen are demanding higher pay than what has been recommended by the Sixth Central Pay Commission and additional allowances, which are not included in the Pay Commission's recommendations.

The ministry further said that some of their demands regarding national holidays and night duty allowances have already been met.

It has asked the general managers of Central and Western Railways to take all necessary steps in coordination with the Maharashtra Government to ensure minimum inconvenience to daily commuters.

"Railway will not hesitate in taking the stringent action against those who are not heeding to our request," said Anil Saxena, spokesperson of Indian Railways.

The striking motormen have said their protest would continue for the next few days if their demands are not met.

"Our demands are genuine, we are not asking for anything more. We are demanding only for what we should get as per the formula," said Suresh Pardesi. (ANI)

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