Mumbai: Empty train stations, commuters spilling onto roads, huge traffic jams - the strike by motormen in Mumbai meant a trying morning for the city. On the Central and Western lines, only 15% of the normal trains are running. Passengers can call on these helpline numbers - 10720, 10721. Use trains only if necessary, advises the government.
Between them, the Central and Western lines run 3300 trains on a normal day for more than 60 lakh commuters.
Despite today's paralysis, commuters who spoke to NDTV in different parts of the city expressed their support for motormen, agreeing that they should be granted the better pay and facilities that they're demanding.
Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam was one of thousands of Mumbaikars stuck in a traffic jam. He was on his way to the Arthur Road jail to argue for the death sentence for Ajmal Kasab in the 26/11 trial when he called the court to say he'd be late.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has called an emergency meeting. The central government has already granted its permission to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA). The Act allows the arrest of employees on strike who refuse to return to work. The Railways has moved Bombay High Court and notices have been sent to the motormen that they must resume work immediately.
Special buses are being run and long-distance trains are stopping at some suburban stations to help out. Policemen are on guard to prevent chaos among train commuters.
Twenty motormen have been fired, another 86 have been detained for protesting at Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
On Monday evening, commuters on their way home found themselves stranded after motormen decided they were done for the day. All trains from Churchgate were cancelled for more than an hour. The Western and Central lines were paralysed.
Hours before that, the government had asked offices in the city to shut down early, but that didn't help ease either traffic or tension.