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Monday, May 3, 2010

Maximum chaos as city hits the streets

Mumbai: With no one to drive the trains, Mumbai on Monday hit the roads. And the results was pretty much the same as on 26/7. That's not all. Officials fear that if the strike doesn't end on Tuesday and all of Mumbai's 60-70 lakh vehicles come out on the streets, the city will stop. 

    Monday was sheer mayhem as clogged arterial roads, packed buses and playing-hard-to-get cabbies and autorickshaws added to the chaos caused by the suburban motormen's strike. Several commuters either preferred to work from their homes while a few gave up their journey midway to return home. 
    Traffic policemen were actually encouraging taxis and autos to carry more people. "We won't fine people if they carry more passengers than allowed till trains are normal," said DCP traffic Nandkumar Chougule. Roads in Thane and Navi Mumbai also felt the aftershocks of the traffic chaos. Desperation even drove several commuters, coming from Navi Mumbai towards Mumbai, to force their way into cars and other vehicles. Those unable to do so 
were trying to find places to stay the night in Navi Mumbai. 
    In Mumbai too, commuters tried taking lifts in private cars while others decided to walk home several kilometres. Most shops shut early to allow their staff to return home. 
    Motormen started withdrawing their services slowly towards the afternoon. It started building up when at around 3.30 pm office-goers gathered at bus stops and stations after government and other offices closed down. 
    Commuters Indrani Joshi and Praniti Acharya virtually took twoand-a-half hours to reach CST from 
Kurla as rickshaws and taxis refused to take them to the station and their offices. The city witnessed probably the largest number of private cars and buses on sea link, according to MSRDC sources, with up to 10 to 15% hike in number of vehicles. 
    Some of the worst hit areas in
cluded Dr Ambedkar road, P DMello road, N M Joshi road, Eastern Express highway, Sion-Dharavi road, LBS Road, Pedder road, Marine Drive, Haji Ali, Dr Annie Besant road, Worli, Mahim Causeway, Tulsi Pipe road, Western Express highway, S V Road, Linking road, Kalina. 
    Transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said 2000 additional private buses will be deployed. The MSRTC has deployed 440 additional buses in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Vasai, Virar and Mira Road. BEST ran 367 extra buses from various locations in the city. 

'Early to work, return early' 
The state government plans to let employees who report early on Tuesday, to leave offices early if the motormen's strike that began on Monday stretches into the second consecutive day. Addressing the media in Mantralaya on Monday, home minister R R Patil stated that chief minister Ashok Chavan and NCP chief Sharad Pawar will meet Prime minister Mannmohan Singh and urge him to intervene to avoid inconvenience to lakhs of commuters. "The demands of the motormen will be tabled before the Union government to end the strike at earliest possible," Patil added. He added if the strike continues, the employees reporting early to offices can leave early. Meanwhile on the first day of the strike the state government appealed to all private sector companies to allow their employees to leave by 3 pm, public sector offices 
and banks to shut operation by 4 pm and government offices to close by 5 pm. -Sanjeev Shivadekar | TNN

SHATTERED: Broken windows at Churchgate station

NOWHERE TO GO: Crowds waiting at Churchgate station hoping for trains to move


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