BEST suffers Rs 2 cr loss | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BEST suffers Rs 2 cr loss

Will the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) take legal action against its staffers and union leaders, who caused inconvenience to lakhs of Mumbaiites and a loss of revenue to the tune of Rs2 crore by resorting to a sudden strike on Thursday?

mumbai Updated: Aug 20, 2011 01:23 IST
Shashank Rao

Will the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) take legal action against its staffers and union leaders, who caused inconvenience to lakhs of Mumbaiites and a loss of revenue to the tune of Rs2 crore by resorting to a sudden strike on Thursday?

The BEST administration on Friday said it was planning to take legal action against Sharad Rao-led BEST Workers’ Union that instigated protests that resulted in 80% buses staying off the roads. More than 40,000 drivers, conductors, mechanics and workers of the public undertaking went on a voluntary strike to protest against non-fulfilment of their demands.

Lakhs of Mumbaiites were left stranded due to the strike; harried commuters were left at the mercy of autorickshaws and taxis, which were either running at full capacity or refused to take passengers.

The undertaking suffered a loss of Rs2 core as only 943 out of its 4,100 buses plied on Thursday. There is a burden of additional loss of Rs2 lakh after violent protesters damaged windows and windshields, and punctured tyres of 141 buses.

“We are contemplating legal action against the union, which was responsible for the mess,” said OP Gupta, general manager, BEST. Commuter associations feel that the undertaking needs to take stringent action against errant officers. “These unions always take people for granted. So we only hope that they resort to legal help,” said Prasad Sakpal, president, BEST Bus Passengers Welfare Association.

However, Sharad Rao, general secretary, BEST Workers’ Union, said, “The union didn’t call for a strike and the participation was voluntary. We are not worried about it.”

The BEST officials claim to have begun the process of initiating action against the protesters and they have till now identified 13 employees involved in stone throwing and inciting violence. There are many unidentified people too who were involved in violent activities. “We will do a detailed identification of those involved in the incident and set up our own inquiry,” said a senior BEST official.

The passenger associations feel that the undertaking should actually implement what they are claiming as they have always been soft. Many employees and workers didn’t turn up, as they felt threatened by the union’s protest. There was no one even for the regular maintenance of buses, which on an average are more than 300 buses in a day.

The protesters called off the strike after deputy CM Ajit Pawar intervened and accepted their demands that arrears and wages of around Rs560 crore will be paid by March 2012.