The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) paid February’s salary to more than 40,000 employees only last week.
Accoriding to a source, as the transport section of BEST has been running losses and needed about Rs1,000 crore to recover from it, a detailed presentation on the restructuring the plan of BEST’s transport unit was given to civic chief Ajoy Mehta and group leaders of various political parties in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) by BEST general manager, Jagdish Patil on Saturday.
One of the important measures for recovering the losses proposed in the presentation was an increase in the BEST fare by Rs2, source said. If approved, the BEST fare is likely to be hiked from minimum Rs8 to Rs10. Several measures such as shutting down the services of air-conditioned buses in the city, discontinuing the allowances given to various officers and BEST employees and also a complete halt on purchase of any new buses among many others were presented in front of the group leaders to curtail losses.
The civic chief has, however, yet again agreed to grant BEST money so that salaries of the employees were paid on time. Instead of purchasing new buses, it was suggested in the meeting that private buses should be hired so that there is not much of investment which is involved. And an option for AC buses could be mini-AC buses that can be ferried on a trial basis in the city. While Mehta has given a nod for raising money for salary of the employees, various points of the presentation will have to be approved by the BEST committee and also from the employees union and general body for all these to be implemented, said officials. Mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, said, “We are making all possible attempts to stabilise BEST so that the employees do not suffer and their salaries are paid on time.”