The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, which operates one the largest fleet of bus services in the country, is facing a financial crunch and has sought to borrow Rs1,700 crore to pay arrears to its employees for pay revision and ex gratia.
The BEST's transport division has about 32,000 employees. To bear the loss of this division, the undertaking has decided to borrow Rs1,500 crore from Canara Bank and Rs200 crore from Vijaya Bank. The BEST committee cleared both the proposals with amendments on Wednesday.
"The BEST is facing a cash crunch, but the employees are not responsible for the situation. The administration has to manage its finances better," said Sunil Ganacharya, general secretary of the Shiv Sena-affiliated BEST Kamgar Sena. Ganacharya is also one of the members of the BEST committee.
To get the loan of Rs200 crore from Vijaya Bank, the BEST administration has proposed to mortgage 2,071 buses.
"We are against the mortgage. Hence, I have moved an amendment that the administration should renegotiate with the bank and change the terms and conditions of the loan," said Ravi Raja, a Congress corporator and a committee member.
Om Prakash Gupta, general manager of the BEST undertaking said, "We will take note of the suggestions that have come from the committee members."