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.

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