The ‘Bharat Bandh’ enforced by the Bharatiya Janata Party, and supported by the Shiv Sena, has cost the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) about Rs 2.5 crore.
This includes a day’s revenue loss and the cost to repair 265 buses that were damaged in stone pelting by the political workers who enforced a bandh on the city.
Ironically, the BEST Chairman Sanjay Potnis, a Sena leader who was also on the streets on Monday, has demanded that the state government should compensate the BEST for the same.
Potnis said: “It is the norm that government gives compensation to bodies affected in a riot-like situation. The BEST should get compensation. We will send a bill to the government for the purpose.”
When it was pointed out that one of the participants in the bandh was his own party, Potnis insisted that the workers of his party had not been found pelting stones at any of the BEST buses.
Potnis demanded that the state government should bear the loss of Rs 2.9 lakh (cost of broken glasses).
Significantly, ten BEST staffers were injured badly in stone pelting incidents on Monday. The cost of broken windshields and windowpanes is about Rs 2.9 lakh.
In the committee meeting on Tuesday, Congress member Ravi Raja demanded that the cost of the damaged buses should be recovered from the political parties responsible for the bandh.
Former chairman of the committee Dilip Patel (BJP) opposed the idea and said, “Why should political parties compensate the losses because it is right of the political parties to agitate? In fact the administration should be blamed for running the buses on bandh day.”