The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) that has been struggling for years to get its bus fares hiked, has actually been incurring massive losses over the past 10 years.
A right to information (RTI) query has revealed that the BEST's transport division has made losses of Rs3, 282crore from 2001-11.
In the current fiscal, from 2010-11, the bus transport division has incurred losses of Rs499.62crore, while in the previous financial year 2009-10 the loss incurred was Rs599. 72crore. Interestingly, while the revenue of the public transport division has marginally increased over time, expenses are simply too high.
The RTI application was filed by activist Anil Galgali. "The RTI reply indicates that BEST has incurred losses of thousands of crores over the past 10 years and the amount is only increasing. This shows lack of planning on the part of the organisation," Galgali said.
The activist has also marked a letter to senior BEST authorities, asking them to review the account status and to take measures so that the organisation can go back to a no-profit, no-loss status.
When contacted, NA Walawalkar, BEST Public Relations Officer (PRO), said, "In a span of 10years, the prices of both spare parts and fuel have increased, but we do not get any subsidy from the government. Therefore, we have incurred some losses in the past few years. We have requested the state to waive off some taxes such as passenger tax, nutrition charges, wheel taxes or toll taxes so that we can function smoothly."
Earlier, the BEST transport service division used to balance its losses against revenue from its electricity supply division. But, ever since the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission stopped this, the transport wing has been incurring massive losses. "In India, all public transport bodies run into losses, but they receive subsidy from the government. We don't get anything despite offering the lowest tariff and best services," Walawalkar said.