BMC turns down plea for loan for new buses | india | Hindustan Times
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BMC turns down plea for loan for new buses

india Updated: Jan 21, 2009 14:53 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

The municipal corporation and its undertaking, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) are locked in a bitter tussle.

The BMC has turned down BEST’s request for a Rs 1,000-crore loan to improve infrastructure and buy buses, claiming it has no money.

Ironically, the latest investment report card of November 2008 reveals that the BMC has invested Rs 4,895 crore as bank deposits on an interest rate of 10.25 to 11.75 per cent per annum.

On December 19, BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade had written to Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak seeking monetary help of Rs 1,000 crore for developmental work like buying new buses in a bid to save crores of rupees it would have to pay as interest to banks.

“If the BMC would give us an interest-free loan of Rs 1,000 crore, we would save at least Rs 150 crore a year. We are ready to repay the loan in 10 years’ time,” Khobragade said. “But the BMC has refused to give us a loan.”

Insisting that the BMC had no money to loan, Phatak said: “We are already giving concessions to the BEST in the form of property tax. However, it is not possible to provide a Rs 1,000-crore loan.”

On the Rs 4,895 crore bank deposits, Phatak said the money is for water projects and other projects.

“The Congress will raise the issue in the civic body and the BEST committee,” Congress corporator and BEST committee member Ravi Raja said.