Anticipating losses owing to the diesel price hike, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) plans to seek subsidy on fuel charges and other taxes from the state government and the civic body.
Ashok Patil, committee chairman, BEST, said, “Even 15% subsidy on fuel charges could save the undertaking’s Rs30 crore annually. This could help us balance our budget and save Rs5-10crore. After the Ganesh festival, our delegation will meet the state and civic officials requesting them to subsidise our fuel, road toll, octroi and advertisement space charges.”
The authority caters to 45 lakh commuters daily and has a fleet of 4,532 buses of which 2,979 run on CNG and 1,553 on diesel. The hike will raise the BEST’s diesel purchasing cost from Rs45.33 to Rs51.53. “The fuel price hike will lead to a rise in the cost of oil and spare parts, leading to indirect losses,” said Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member.
Currently, the undertaking has a debt of Rs3,300crore, accumulated over the last 10 years. The total loss incurred by the transport authority in the previous financial year was Rs847.76crore.
The members also plan to ask for a cross-subsidy on the concession that they provide to students, blind persons and police. “BEST offers concession to students, blind persons and others as part of its social responsibility. But, as the authority is suffering losses, the departments concerned should provide cross-subsidy to BEST,” said Kedar Hombalkar, committee member.