The electricity bills of 10.5 lakh power consumers of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) in the island city will reduce from December, as they won’t have to pay the transport division loss recovery (TDLR) charges.
BEST used to collect around Rs650 from island city consumers every month to cross-subsidize the loss-making transport wing. The move was challenged in the Supreme Court (SC), which stopped BEST from recovering the TDLR, but allowed BEST to recover their losses of Rs2,860.69crore, of which only Rs15.38crore is yet to be recovered.
“The SC has allowed us to recover Rs2860.69crore. We have already billed some consumers the remaining amount in bill that will be presented in October. The rest will be billed in October, which will be given in November,” said Jagdish Patil, general manager, BEST.
The authority is looking forward to other sources of revenue to cross-subsidise the second-biggest public transport in the city, which serves to 30lakh city commuters. The other sources could be a part of property tax, transport cess, loss recovery on all utility services provided across the city such as water, additional electricity duty or cess on petrol. “These suggestions were made to the government and the BMC to subsidise the transport wing. Even if one or two of these are implemented, it will be provide major relief,” said Patil.
Of the 10.50lakh consumers, 1.88lakh consumers will receive the TDLR in October and remaining in November. Majority of these 1.88lakh are high-end consumers, while the remaining, most of which are residential users, will be billed in October.
BRACE FOR TROUBLE
Suburban bus commuters may have tough time traveling on October 19, as BEST employees are likely to organize a rally to demand ex-gratia payment
“All workers unions have met mayor Snehal Ambekar to demand the bonus and if it is not given they will go on strike. The date of strike will be decided in the rally,” said Suhas Samant, BEST Kamgar Sena (workers’ union) president.