Friday, May 28, 2010

Even as Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee shirked responsibility for the horrific mishap that took place in West Bengal's West Midnapore district in the wee hours on Friday saying it was a Maoist strike, the facts don't seem to be backing her claim.

The railway minister had said that since security was not an issue that she was responsible for, the blame lied with the state government and the Union home ministry. However, railway officials contradicted the minister's claim.

According to them, the passengers of Gyaneshwari Express did not die because the train coaches gave clear indication what actually happened derailed. People died after the derailed bogies were hit by a goods train.

Railway Board member Vivek Sahai said, "It is our misfortune that the train was derailed and the coaches tilted towards the adjacent line and infringed the down line going towards Howrah. At that very moment, a goods train was going from Tatanagar to Kharagpur and its engine hit these tilted coaches due to which there have been loss of lives."

The passengers trapped in these coaches were crushed to death as the goods train engine rammed into it. It was confirmed by the driver of the goods train.

"On seeing the emergency light I tried to stop the train. There was a huge ball of smoke in front of me. The engine of the train was on the track but the bogies had derailed," Nirbhay, the goods train driver, had said after the collision.

Earlier in the day, terming it an outcome of a blast carried out by Maoists, the railway minister had said, "Trains have been made soft targets. We have appealed repeatedly that rail services should not be disrupted. Railway is going for a high-power investigation but at the same time I will request the home minister to investigate the matter and whoever is responsible, take necessary reaction."
Mumbai-bound train derails after Maoist attack, 68 killed
Jhargram (WB), May 28 (PTI):Sixty-eight passengers of a Mumbai-bound express train were killed and 200 injured in a Maoist attack here early Friday that derailed 13 coaches, five of which were hit by a goods train coming from the opposite direction.

Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) claimed responsibility for the derailment of the Howrah-Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Gyaneshwari Super Deluxe Express that occurred in eastern India's West Midnapore district, about 150 kms from Kolkata.

Confusion prevailed over whether a bomb blast or an act of sabotage by removal of fish plates led to the derailment, in yet another Naxal attack targeting railways.

"PCPA has left two posters near the rail tracks clearly owning responsibility for the derailment," IGP (Law and Order) S Karpurakayastha told PTI in Kolkata
As per the Guidence of RLC/NDLS, FTC invited AILRSA officially for personnel hearing.
On 28.05.2010 at New Delhi.
Com. L Mony, Com. MN Prasad, Com. JS Tank, Com. K Parthasarathy, Com. DS Koparkar, Com. RK Rana were attended. And we are able to represent the issues effectively before FTC.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The railway board granted payment of overtime Allowance in the revised 6CPC Pay scale with effect from 01-9-2008.Why the issue of revision of Over Time Allowance has not been considered in important ministries like Defence, Postal etc.? The Railway board’s order of grant of Overtime Allowance is given below for the reference
S.No. PC-VI/189 RBE No. 29/2010
No. PC-V/2008/A/O/3(OTA) New Delhi, dated 17.02.2010
The General Managers
All Indian Railways and
Production Units.
(as per mailing list)
Sub: Grant of Overtime Allowance to Railway employees consequent upon revision of pay scales and allowances.
Pursuant to the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the issue of revision of Over Time Allowance has been under consideration and in partial modification of the Board’s earlier orders on the subject, it has been decided by the Board that the Railway employees who are governed by the Statutory Acts like the Factories Act, Hours of Employment Regulations or those covered under rules for Departmental Overtime and who have opted for the revised scales of pay in terms of Railway Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 2008, may be granted overtime allowance, on the basis of their emoluments in the revised scales of pay.
2. The emoluments, for the purpose of computation of rates of OTA will comprise the following:
a) Railway employees governed by Factories Act
• Basic Pay (Pay in Pay Band + Grade Pay)
• Dearness Allowance
• House Rent Allowance
• Transport Allowance
• Cash equivalent of the advantage accruing through the concessional sale to workers of food grains and other articles, as the worker is for the time being entitled to (excluding wages for Overtime work or Bonus)
b) Railway employees governed by HOER
• All the items as shown in (a) above except House Rent Allowance
c) Railway employees governed by rules Under Departmental Overtime
(i) Employees working in Loco Sheds and C & W Depot
• All the items as shown in (a) above except House Rent Allowance
(ii) Other Railway employees governed under Departmental Orders
• Basic Pay (Pay in Pay Band + Grade Pay)
• Dearness Allowance
3. The revised rates of Overtime Allowance shall be effective from 01-9-2008.
4. With a view to minimize instances of OTA, General Managers may take following measures:-
(i) Prepare an action plan for systematic and efficient utilization of manpower covering various aspects viz. filling up of vacancies, especially in Running staff and operational categories, proper management of sanction of leave and rational deployment of staff.
(ii) Conduct a fresh job analysis of the duties of Motor Car Drivers who are presently classified as ‘Continuous’ to determine their actual period of working requiring sustained attention.
(iii) Prefer hiring of vehicles for official use, if necessary.
(iv) Allow compensatory off to the staff booked on holidays due to exigencies.
(v) Direct all the RRBs to follow a uniform pattern by giving compensatory off to their staff instead of OTA.
(vi) Review payment of OTA to supervisors in the Pay Band-2 except to those who are earmarked for breakdown duties, to minimize the incidence of OTA.
5. This issues with the concurrence of the Finance Directorate of the Ministry of Railways.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Safety lessons yet to be learnt
A. Ranganathan
This accident is a result of complacency in the system
The Air India Express (AIE) crash in Mangalore was a tragedy waiting to happen. Safety standards in Indian aviation have been on the wane for the last six years. Efforts are on to correct the drift, but the systemic rot is so deep and corruption levels are so high, we are not likely to see any improvement in safety unless drastic changes are made. In December 2009, a Kingfisher Airlines aircraft overshot the runway at the Mumbai airport while landing in rain. The captain was an expatriate with a lot of experience. The captain of this latest ill-fated flight was also an experienced expatriate. Indian aviation needs experienced expatriate pilots to make up the shortfall of captains. Unfortunately, scrutiny of quality is often lacking. The regulatory oversight of safety standards is poor, and training standards are deteriorating.
Reports indicate that the weather conditions were fine and the runway was dry. However, the touchdown was reported to have happened too late. The 8,000-feet runway was more than sufficient for a Boeing 737-800. If the correct landing and stopping techniques were used, it should have stopped by the end of the runway. Instead, the aircraft went through the perimeter wall at high speed. The Flight Data Recorder will play a crucial role in reaching the correct conclusion. The aircraft was using the Instrument Landing System (ILS). A normal touchdown takes place between 1,400 feet to 1,800 feet from the start of the runway. The AIE aircraft is reported to have touched down close to 3,000 feet down the runway.
One question that the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) needs to address is the standard of the runway. Was the surface clear of rubber deposits that affect the friction quality? Was the correct runway friction testing equipment used?
This accident is a result of complacency in the system. The mushrooming of airlines in India without the minimum numbers of qualified manpower is bound to expose deficiencies in safety and training standards. The financial crunch that almost all airlines are facing has led to short-cuts in maintenance and safety standards.
The Mangalore accident is an example of an approach-and-landing accident, with a late touchdown at a higher than normal speed. If the pilot had realised that he was too high, why did he not opt for a go-around? This compulsion to continue with the approach points to a certain level of fatigue-induced decision. The crew had operated for the better part of the night, and the accident happened early in the morning. In July 2007, another AIE aircraft went off the runway at the Cochin International Airport. Did the airline learn the lessons from that accident? Did it identify the causes and correct them in terms of training? An expatriate captain was in command of that aircraft as well. The DGCA has to scrutinise the safety and training standards of the airline. Does it have the right personnel manning crucial posts?
Did the safety audit of the airline throw up any deficiencies, and were they addressed? India needs an independent air safety board and an independent regulator. The claim that we are very safe and nothing less than 100 per cent is acceptable — an oft-repeated statement by the Minister of Civil Aviation — has been blown to bits. Circumventing safety standards to accommodate the commercial interests of operators has cost the lives of more than 150 people. We need transparency in the system, and the system has to weed out the dead-wood.
The directives in a recent DGCA circular on Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) have to be pushed through on a war-footing. The number of close shaves that have been witnessed in the last few years highlights the fact that there is something seriously wrong with the system.
Another question that needs to be addressed concerns the rescue effort. Did the crash tenders reach the site fast enough? How many lives were lost in the post-crash fire? We talk of world-class standards. But we have to accept the fact that unless we do some soul-searching and take bold corrective steps, more such accidents are bound to happen.
The monsoon is just a few days away and the weather conditions are going to be severe. Are we going to be proactive and prevent any more accidents, or are we going to sit back — firm in the belief that we have a 100 per cent safe system in the aviation sector?
( Captain A. Ranganathan is an airline instructor pilot with extensive flying experience, and a consultant in the field of accident prevention.)
158 killed as plane crashes at Mangalore
Govind Belgaumkar & Sudipto Mondal
Air India Express flight from Dubai overshoots runway, plunges into valley; 8 survive miraculously

MANGALORE: An Air India Express plane from Dubai overshot the table-top runway at the Mangalore airport on Saturday morning and plunged over a cliff into a wooded valley, killing 158 persons.
There were 160 passengers and six crew members on board Flight IX-812. The passengers included 137 adults, 19 children and 4 infants. Eight passengers survived miraculously.
The plane burst into flames after the crash, which occurred at 6.10 a.m. The captain of the flight, Z. Glusica, a British national of Serbian origin, and his co-pilot H.S. Ahluwalia are among the dead. Nine passengers did not board the flight, according to the manifest.
Mohammad Usman, a survivor, who was in seat no. 19 said: “I heard a horrible sound when the plane landed. Within a few seconds it caught fire and the flames spread inside. I crawled out from a crack near the left wing. I removed my seat belt in time and saved myself.”

Krishnan Koolikunnu, a survivor, has lunch at a hospital in Mangalore on Saturday.
Another survivor, Joel Prathap D'Souza, astounded airport officials when he turned up at the arrival wing for immigration formalities.
Fire tenders had a tough time reaching the inaccessible crash site. Residents of the nearby Kenjar village rose to the occasion, throwing themselves selflessly into the rescue work, carrying bodies out of the burning wreckage. Police said all 158 bodies were recovered by evening.
Reasons unclear
The reasons for the crash are as yet unclear. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel said an enquiry by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had been ordered.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh experienced heavy rains due to cyclone ‘Laila’, the South Central Railway (SCR) today cancelled two trains and partially cancelled thirty six trains while diverting 13 others, officials said.

“Due to heavy rains and anticipated cyclone, all trains on Vijayawada division of SCR are moving at a restricted speed of 60 kmph. Because of this, trains will be running late,” a spokesperson of SCR said.

Depending on the severity of cyclone, trains may be stopped enroute and some trains cancelled, she said.

The Express trains which have been cancelled for today are Train No. 7482 Tirupati-Bilaspur Express and Train No. 2842 Chennai-Howrah Coramandal Express.

Similarly, the trains which have been partially cancelled are the Tirupati-Adilabad Express between Tirupati-Vijayawada while Adilabad-Tirupati Express was cancelled between Vijayawada-Tirupati.

Vijayawada-Chennai Janashatabdi, Secunderabad-Gudur Simhadri Express, Tirupati Kakinada Port passenger and Vijayawada-Gudur passenger were among the partially cancelled trains, the officials said.

The SCR has also set up following helpline numbers: Vijayawada railway station: 0866—2767295 and emergency control 0866—2767077 and 2767078. It has also opened special counters at 14 railway stations on Vijayawada division.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

RLC conciliation at New Delhi on 08.05.10Regional Labour Commissioner (cetral ) New Delhi directed Fast Track Committee to hear AILRSA personally. Adviced Railways to resolve the issue of HOER. Failing RLC will order for Job Evaluation.
STATEMENT OF SRI. E AHAMED, Minister of State for Railways regarding agitation of Motormen of Central and Western Railways, Mumbai in Rajya Sabha, the 4th May 2010.
Sir, the Motormen of Central and Western Railway through their Joint Action Forum have been agitating for higher pay and allowances and other benefits for some time. They have given a notice for Hunger Strike from 06.00 hours of 3rd May 2010.
The Motormen are demanding higher pay than recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission and additional allowances which are not in recommendations of the Central Pay Commission. A fast Track Committee is looking in to their demands and is expected to submit its report by 15.06.2010. Further action on the issues would require consultation with and approval of the Ministry Of Finance.
The Joint Action Forum of Motormen is not affiliated to any of the Recognised Federations, Unions or Associations of the Railways. The Motormen have also approached the Regional Labour Commissioner, Mumbai who has already initiated the Conciliation proceedings. In its conciliation meeting held on 29.04.10, The Regional Labour Commissioner (RLC) has adviced the concerned employees not to resort to protest w.e.f. 03.05.2010 and had fixed the next date for further discussion on 12.05.2010. Any precipitative action taken during the conciliatory proceedings is unlawful under Industrial Disputes Act. On account of disruption of suburban train services on 03.05.2010 fresh conciliation proceedings are taking place today ie 04.05.2010.
The Railways is having the best of Industrial relations with its 14 lakh employees. All major decisions are taken in consultation with the recognized Federations. In the present case, the Recognised Federations have not supported the agitation of the joint Action Forum.
Railways regret the inconvenience caused to the people of Mumbai and would like to assure that all steps are being taken to Normalize the situation at the earliest.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lok Sabha Proceedings on 4th May 2010
Sri. Basudeb Acharya (Baskura): Under the leadership of All India Loco Running Staff Association through out the country the Motormen and Running staff are on Hunger Strike. In Delhi also I attended and inaugurated their Dharna at Jantar manthar, Suburban train service in Mumbai is the life line. They are on Hunger Strike, their grievances are not being addressed, and there has been injustice to Motorman, Asst.Loco Pilot. They have been agitating for one year. A Fast Track Committee was constituted. That fast Track Committee was not submit its reports on 15th of April. That committee has not yet submitted its reports and the ministry of Railways has done nothing to mitigate the grievances of Running Staff and Motorman; moreover when they are on the path of agitation, they are being sacked. They are being dismissed from service. I demand that the Government should immediately assure the house that normalcy would be restored. The ESMA which has been imposed should be withdrawn, and the Motorman who has been dismissed from the service and sacked, they should be taken back. Their dismissal orders should be revoked.

Sri. GuruDas DasGupta (GHATAL): About the inconvenience caused to Mumbai people, I have full sympathy, Mumbai people are in serious difficulty but that is not the issue. I would like to know from the Government as to who has been given orders for imposing ESMA. ESMA is a draconian law. Who has given the orders? Is it the Railway Ministry or the Home Ministry or the Government of India? ESMA will not be tolerated. The Government must know. Secondly, who has given the orders for the retrenchment? I am warning the Government if the Govt. wants to deal the workers by imposing ESMA and by retrenching the workers it will have to face the united struggle of All the Trade Unions of the country and it would be bad for the Government. Madam, I demand withdrawal of ESMA, I Demand retrenchment order should be withdrawn. I demand negotiations should be started.


Note- I am here with sending the proceedings of parliament which is sufficiently reflecting how effectively our cases was raised in parliament and the result a which is the commitment of Railway Administration to submit the report of Fast Track Committee by 15th June 2010.
M.N.Prasad, Secretary General AILRSA.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

AILRSA Central Committee declared 36 hours Hunger Strike in front of Janthar Manthar, from 3rd May. The SIT IN FAST was inaugurated by Com. Basudeb Acharia MP. Simultaneously through out Indian railways in front of DRM office and In front of Crew Booking Lobby such Hunger strike was conducting.
The Joint Action Committee of Central and Western Railway comprising of Motorman Association, AILRSA, and Karmic Sangh declared INDEFINITE HUNGER STRIKE from 3rd may morning 6 AM.
By after noon the train service of Bombay and other places affected badly. Railway started arresting the workers around 170 running staff is arrested in different place. Penal measures started by Imposing 14/2(Dismissal without Enquiry) to around 20 members. 82 comrades were admitted in Hospital.

Com. MN Prasad, Com. KC James, Com. L Mony were in touch with Bombay JAF leaders and other MP’s also they had discussion with Member staff.. Com. PN Soman and Com. C Sunish were also in touch with Com. Koparkar, Com. Badgujar and with Com. Basudeb Acharia, and Com. MK Pandhe to find a solution. Com Basudeb Acharia raised the case in Parliament and it has seen that all the MP’s cross over the line and supported. Railway Minister was Isolated. She could not find time to visit Parliament since Bengal municipal election was going on.

By evening it is seen that the SIVA SENA withdrawn their support. This is a proof that such parties are not having any commitment to the working class.
Some how solution came out by the intervention of Sri RR Patil Home Minister Maharashtra.

The report of Fast Track Committee will be submitted by June 15
No Penal actions on workers.

The colour of Recognised Trade union once again opened before public. They proved their bias towards Administration.
Centre moves court against striking motormen

The Union Government has moved the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to the striking motormen to resume work, officials said on Tuesday.
The court is expected to hear the application later in the day.
Motormen are on an indefinite hunger strike since Monday evening demanding a wage hike. The strike has crippled train services in the city.

170 striking motormen taken into custody
At least 170 striking motormen were taken into custody on Tuesday at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) here on charges of unlawful assembly and obstructing rail employees from reporting to their duties.
“About 170 motormen have been taken into custody for the offence of unlawful assembly. We have deployed adequate police force at all the stations in Western and Central Railway to avoid any violent situation,” Government Railway Police (GRP) Commissioner Tukaram Chavan told PTI.
The motormen taken into custody will be subsequently arrested, he said.
Earlier, 20 motormen were dismissed as they refused to report for work, railway officials said.
The hunger strike by motormen demanding salary and allowances hike has crippled normal life in Mumbai with offices recording a thin attendance.

Sena withdraws support to motormen strike

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday withdrew its support to the ongoing motormen strike in Mumbai taking note of the inconvenience caused to the commuters, even as the BJP appealed to the agitators to call off their protest.
“We have withdrawn our support to the motormen strike after Sena Chief Bal Thackeray ordered us to do so. The commuters are having lot of trouble and the city has been stranded since yesterday,” Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told PTI in Mumbai.
The strike by motormen demanding hike in wages and allowances has brought suburban rail services to a crawl in the metropolis.
“Shiv Sena wants that the motormen’s demands should be fulfilled by the government. However, harassing the commuters in this way is not correct,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde has also appealed to the motormen to called off their strike.
“The struggle is against government and not the public and inconvenience should not be caused to public in any way due to the struggle,” Mr. Munde said.
Both the parties demanded that the Railway Ministry take immediate steps to address the grievances
“The Railway Ministry is silent on the demands of the motormen who had given notice regarding the strike six months back,” Mr. Munde told reporters outside Parliament.
Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete said the situation in Mumbai was “explosive” and riots may break out if immediate steps were not taken to end the strike.
“People are on the roads and riots can break out anytime if the situation was not tackled immediately. Railway Ministry should take steps to end the strike,” he said.
The two leaders said the opposition will not allow Parliament to function till the grievances of the motormen are addressed.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee should take immediate steps to address the issue and make statement in Parliament, they said.
Meanwhile, suburban train services in Mumbai continued to be disrupted for the second day on Tuesday due to the strike called by motormen demanding a hike in salary and allowances.
Raj to motormen: Get back to work… or else!
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday warned motormen to call-off their strike else his party would oppose it “in their style”.
“The motormen should withdraw the strike till afternoon else my party would oppose the strike in their style,” Mr. Raj Thackeray told reporters here.
“The people have seen what happens when MNS gets into the protest, he said, adding the government also should take strict action against the motormen. We have sympathy towards the demands of the motormen but harassing the commuters in this way is not correct,” Mr. Raj Thackeray said.
The motormen should start working by evening and give some relief to Mumbaikars, he said.
Motormen threaten to go on strike again

The HinduTRAVEL TRAVAILS: Mumbai commuters travelling on the sides of a diesel engine on Tuesday as local train services were disrupted due to the strike by motormen. The strike has been called off. Photo: Paul Noronha
“Our demands have been pending since January 26… it's the administration that is stalling services”
The demands of motormen of the Mumbai locals have been pending since January 26, when they first decided to go on strike. However, at that time, the Railway authorities stepped in with the assurance that a fast track committee would look into their demands. The Joint Action Forum of motormen also intimated its decision to go on strike in May if no move was made to settle the demands.
However, a union spokesperson said the fast track committee had not even met them once and that much time had lapsed since they first made their demands. From Monday, the motormen went on an indefinite hunger strike and many were hospitalised. As a result, by evening trains were stopped at various stations and chaos reigned.
Head of Western Railway Motormen's Association Devendra Yadav said: “If our demands are not met we will go on hunger strike again. We also discussed the issue with [Maharashtra] Home Minister R.R. Patil. The government has assured us that the grade pay for assistant drivers will be raised from Rs. 1,900 to Rs. 2,800 and that for the motormen, from Rs. 4,200 to Rs. 4,800. We are not asking for anything extra. We are keeping within the ambit of the Railway Board stipulations.”
The Union was also defensive about the strike. Association secretary Sunil Gurav said, “We were not the ones to stall the train services; it's the administration. To malign the motormen, they started announcing since yesterday [Monday] that trains are not running due to the strike. They got unauthorised people from outside to operate the trains. Now the same administration has been brought to its knees. We will not get back to work till the suspended motormen are taken back on duty.”
The motormen sat in protest at the Churchgate station here awaiting the letter of assurance from the Western Railways general manager.
In a late development, Mr. Patil visited the Churchgate station and assured the group of motormen that orders revoking the 20 dismissals had been cleared. He urged them to go back to duty and said he had come to the station expressly because he had heard that they were not willing to join work till such an assurance was given.
On Monday, commuters were stranded all over the city and people staying in the far flung suburbs were the worst affected. While extra buses were pressed into service, vehicles piled up on key arterial roads causing massive traffic jams. Some travelled all night by road to reach home on Tuesday morning. Many commuters stayed back in their offices, slept on railway platforms or tried to walk home. Women were hit hard as many had to spend the night at the station.
While the Central and Western Railways had emergency plans in place, only 20 per cent of the services were operational on Tuesday. Barely 15 per cent of the people reported for work in the city that day. In the morning, 20 motormen, 10 each from Central and Western Railways, were dismissed. Later, 170 motormen from the Central Railway, who were obstructing the work of the others, were taken away by the police. By evening, 70 motormen reported for work in the Central side, the spokesperson said.
Things reached a pretty pass on Tuesday morning with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan calling an emergency meeting, where he gave the motormen time till late afternoon to call off the strike. He said the Centre had allowed the State to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act, adding that he would use it only if necessary.
In view of the inconvenience to the public, he also appointed Mr. Patil to negotiate with the motormen. The Home Minister's reassurances led to the strike being called off. Mr. Patil said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Mr. Chavan had spoken to Ms. Banerjee on the issue.
Mr. Patil criticised the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena for supporting the strike call and then making a ruckus by switching sides in Parliament. On Tuesday morning, Sena chief Bal Thackeray called on the motormen to return to work after having supporting them earlier. He said he would take up their demands with the government.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray threatened that if the motormen failed to return to duty by afternoon, the MNS would resort to an agitation. Some MNS activists demonstrated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Thane.
Motormen call off strike
Mumbai's 70 lakh commuters heaved a sigh of relief, as motormen called off their hunger strike on Tuesday evening after Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil assured them that their demands would be placed before the railway authorities.
The Joint Action Forum of the motormen of both Central and Western lines decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike from May 3 to press for their demands, including an increase in the basic salary and daily allowance, an assistant motorman on standby in each train, weekly off and parity with the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.
A railway spokesperson said trains were leaving every half-an-hour since 5.30 p.m., and as the Railways had appealed to people to travel only if necessary, crowds were less. However, on both the Central and Western lines, services would be run as per the timetable only by Wednesday morning.
There are 635 motormen on the Central line and 400 on the Western line, and they are expected to resume duty soon.
After the motormen met Mr. Patil, he said their demands would be placed before the railway authorities, and a committee formed to consider the demands would give its response by June 15.
Mr. Patil said the police would be instructed to withdraw all cases booked against motormen. The dismissal orders would also be revoked.
Motormen call off strike, Mumbai trains limp back to normalcy
Submitted by admin2 on Tue, 05/04/2010 - 19:40
New Delhi, May 4, 2010

Suburban train services in Mumbai limped back to normalcy this evening after motormen of both the Western and Central Railways called off a hunger strike that they began yesterday morning to press their demand for higher pay and allowances.
The agitation had crippled the suburban railway system in the metropolis that carries about 6.9 million passengers a day. The Railways were forced to cancel most of their 3300-odd suburban services today.
The strike was called off by the motormen after talks between their leaders and Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, who assured them that the State Government would take up their demands with the Ministry of Railways and the Central Government.
He told them that he would also request the Railways to withdraw the disciplinary action agaist the striking employees and assured them that the State Government would withdraw action initiated against them.
Mr Patil told mediapersons later he had also impressed upon them the need to withdraw their agitation immediately in view of the great incovenience caused to the travelling public.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had held a meeting with some of his colleagues and top officials of the Railways, the police and the transport department on ways of handling the situation and minimising the difficulties caused to commuters.
There was a move to use the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the striking employees, but the Chief Minister had said that it would be done only as a last resort. Mr Patil said ESMA was not used because the State Government was in talks with the representatives of the motormen.
Mr Chavan told journalists that 4200 buses were pressed into service in the city to provide some relief to commuters. He said traffic on the suburban system had fallen to 20 per cent of normal numbers and attendance in the State Government Secretariat was in the range of 10-15 per cent today.
"Generally, life in the city was paralysed," Mr Chavan said. He said he had taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while in Delhi yesterday and had also discussed the issue with Railways Minister Mamta Banerjee, who was away in West Bengal.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Left parties and many others, including Mr Sanjay Nirupam of the Congress. The Opposition said Ms Banerjee must make a statement on the issue.
In Delhi, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar reviewed the situation at a meeting with Railway Board Chairman S S Khurana and other senior officials.
The Western Railway said it had made special arrangements to keep the local trains running though the number of services would be fewer and the travel time would be more than usual.
The Railway appealed to people in Mumbai to plan to travel by the suburban trains only if it is absolutely necessary. It said about 250 local services would run today, about 20 per cent of the normal number.
A statement from the Western Railway said that every 20 minutes there would be a train from Churchgate to Borivali and Virar, alternatively, stopping at all stations.
Similarly, every 40 minutes there will be a train from Virar and Borivali, alternatively, for Churchgate which will stop at all stations. There will be a few services originating from Andheri to Vasai Road and Bandra to Bhayander. These trains will be run from 05.00 hrs to 23.00 hrs and will take additional travel time.
On the fast corridor, about 110 additional train services will be run with 10 coaches each of long distance trains. These trains will be run between Churchgate- Virar, Mumbai Central - Virar and Dadar- Virar. These trains will halt at Dadar, Bandra, Andheri and Borivali and at all stations between Borivali and Virar. All suburban tickets and passes will be valid in these trains.
The authorities have also made arrangements for running additional buses from various stations like Churchgate, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivali and so on.

The Western Railway has set up a special helpline 10721 to provide information about the situation to members of the public.
The statement also appealed to the motormen to not resort to the hunger protest in the interest of the commuters.
In Delhi, the Ministry of Railways said the motormen were demanding higher pay than recommended by the 6th Central Pay Commission and additional allowances which were not part of the recommendations of the Pay Commission.
An official press release said that some of their demands regarding national holidays and night duty allowances had already been met.
It pointed out that the Indian Railways had 1.4 million employees on their rolls and, traditionally, the grievances of all sections of staff are resolved through consultation with their recognised federations
Uproar in Lok Sabha over motormen's strike
Aarti Dhar

Lok Sabha proceedings were disrupted on Tuesday over the ongoing strike by the motormen of Mumbai's suburban railways with two members almost coming to blows over the issue. The intervention of other MPs prevented the situation from taking an uglier turn.
Ramchander Dome of the CPI (M) and Sudip Bandopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress almost came to blows when the latter reportedly used un parliamentary language for the CPI (M) leader Basudeb Acharia who was demanding a statement from the Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee on the strike.
Tempers ran high as the Ms. Banerjee came under sharp criticism from the entire House, including the Congress, for her “failure” to resolve the motormen's demands despite several notices and particularly her absence from the Lok Sabha when the matter was being discussed. Cutting across party lines, the members criticised the government for imposing Essential Services Maintenance Act under which several striking suburban railway employees had been arrested, placed under suspension and dismissed from services.
While Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal tried to pacify the House by saying that the government would make a statement on the issue within two days, Mr. Bandopadhyay said he would convey the matter to Ms. Banerjee at the earliest. He said she was busy with the municipal elections in West Bengal and hence could not attend the House.
Mr. Basudeb Acharia was responding to this when Mr. Bandopadhyay interrupted him resulting in a verbal duel between him and the CPI (M) members. As Mr Dome came rushing towards Mr. Bandopadhyay, several MPs including Mr. Bansal, Ambika Soni, Jagdambika Pal, Lalu Prasad and those from the National Democratic Alliance intervened to pacify the situation. When things started going out of hand, Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House until 2 p.m.
When the House assembled this morning, the members raised the issue of motormen's strike that had paralysed Mumbai, the controversy involving Union Telecommunications Minister A. Raja and a demand for caste-based census that led to the first adjournment with most members storming into the well.
Speaker Meira Kumar allowed Shiv Sena's Anant Geete to raise the matter when the House met at 12 noon who drew the attention of the House towards the hardships caused by the strike and wanted the government to make a statement. He was supported by Sanjay Nirupam (Congress), Gopinath Munde (BJP), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), Sanjay Naik (NCP) and Lalu Prasad (RJD) all of whom demanded negotiations with the striking employees and withdrawal of suspension and dismissal order issued by the Railways Ministry.
Chaos continued to prevail when the House met again at 2 p.m. with the opposition demanding an apology from Sudip Bandopadhyay over his remarks against Mr. Acharia. Deputy Speaker Karia Munda adjourned the House within minutes after the government said a statement would be made on the issue in the evening.
'We will protest till our demands are met'
May 04, 2010 13:25 IST

More than 1,000 motormen from Mumbai's Central and Western Railway, which form the backbone of the city's commuters, have been on a hunger strike for the past 30 hours, and refused to resume their duties unless their demands are met.
Three hundred and ninety-seven WR motormen and more than 600 CR motormen have united at the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in south Mumbai, demanding a pay hike and weekly offs.
A motorman, who wants to remain anonymous, said, "We are supposed to work seven hours and 26 minutes a day throughout the year without any weekly offs. This is insane. We should be entitled to a weekly off. We don't mind if they extend our working time to eight hours a day and give us a weekly off instead."
Their other demand concerns the grade given to motormen. They claim a discrepancy in the awarding of grades whereby junior motormen have been promoted over seniors.
"Assistant drivers who have been driving at the speed of 130km/hour have been promoted. This is an insult. How can we work under our assistants?" said the motorman.
He also said their wage was not proportionate to their kilometre allowance -- they have been working more hours and are paid less.
The travel allowance -- that has been decided for all railway staff -- has not been revised. The motormen are demanding that their travel allowance be substantially increased to match their increased workload.
The motorman spoke to explained that the motorman's cabin has two people -- train guard and driver. The driver, he said, came under the running staff category and is exposed to maximum risk, which is why the the motormen are demanding increased pay for the running category staff.
At press time, only 20 per cent of Mumbai's trains are functional, which has brought the bustling city to a near standstill, with roads jammed with vehicular transport. Anticipating trouble, the city police has increased security at CST, and 170 motormen have been arrested for creating obstructions.
Many of the striking motormen have fallen ill and have been admitted at nearby hospitals. "Even if our strength reduces, we will protest till our demands are met," said the motorman

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