Mumbai, May 4: The motormen strike has not only crippled the city's lifeline- suburban trains, but has also reached the Parliament with the Opposition parties raising a cry about the mismanagement of the railways. Amid the chaos in the city, the Maharashtra government was also forced to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the striking motormen.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who held an emergency meeting on the strike, decided to invoke the ESMA which requires the striking workers to return to their duties.
As per the latest inputs, the Centre has also given its nod to the state government's decision to invoke ESMA.
If the motormen continue to protest, the motormen can be arrested and also sacked from their jobs. With ESMA being invoked, the motormen have time till 3 pm to return to work or face consequences.
The step by the government comes as a desperate measure to restore the train services in the country's financial capital.
Even before the ESMA was invoked, the authorities dismissed about 20 motormen because they refused to report to work. Besides this, as many as 170 striking motormen were taken into custody at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on charges of unlawful assembly and obstructing rail employees from reporting to their duties.
Lok Sabha saw uproar over the strike as Shiv Sena and BJP members rushed to the well of the house with placards, which read 'Mumbai comes to a grinding halt".
Earlier the railway authorities urged the people to travel only if it was absolutely necessary as only 20 per cent of the trains (approximately 250 trains) would be operating on Tuesday, May 5.
The motormen began the strike on May 3 to demand hike in pay scale and allowances. The strike was relatively peaceful till evening which is when the train services came to a halt. Angry commuters even resorted to violence and vandalism at Churchgate Station.