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May 4, 2010

20 Mumbai motormen dismissed; ESMA may be invoked

   Suburban train services, the lifeline of Mumbai, remained paralysed for the
second today due to strike by motormen, 20 of whom were dismissed from service
for refusing to report for work to press their demand for wage hike. State
government has threatened to invoke ESMA and has given a 3 pm deadline for
withdrawing strike.The western and eastern express highways were jammed with commuters opting for road transport to reach theirdestination.Railway authorities said only 20 per cent suburban trains were operating
today as a result of the hunger strike by motormen demanding hike in pay scales and allowances."Ten motormen each from Central and Western railways have been dismissed asthey refused to work," railway officials said here.Assistant General Manager, Central Railway, Sunil Arya said around 12 strikers have been detained by police as they declined to join duty. Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said the state government has taken upthe matter with the Centre, seeking its intervention to provide relief to Mumbai commuters. The state government is also considering if provisions of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) could be invoked in this case, he said. Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation arising out of the motormen's strike. Police, railway and transport officials will attend the meeting, official sources said.Chavan had yesterday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought the Center's intervention to end the strike, the sources said. The Chief Minister had also spoken to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and requested her to take stringent action against the striking motormen, they said. "The salary and allowance hike demand by motormen is unlawful because they are getting salary as per the sixth pay commission" recommendations, they said.

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