Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday stated that he will not allow any hike in fares of BEST buses. The BEST administration has proposed to hike fares following pleas that the undertaking is under considerable financial strain.
“We will not allow any hike as it will burden the common man who is already facing lot of hardship due to the price rise,” Thackeray said. For any rise to be effected, the BEST committee — currently controlled by the Sena-BJP alliance — has to give its approval.
Thackeray blamed the Congress-led Central government for the financial mess the BEST is facing. The undertaking has a deficit of Rs724.28 crore for the year 2011-12.
“The central government is hiking petrol and diesel prices every few months and we are suffering. For four years, we had not allowed any rise, except last year, when a marginal one was allowed. However, this time we are clear that there will be no hike,” Thackeray said.
The Sena executive president was talking to media on the sidelines of the inauguration of coaching classes organised by his party for students preparing for the banking examination.
With civic elections around the corner and opponents ready to seize upon any mistake, the Sena can ill-afford such unpopular decisions.
In its defence, the Congress party -- which has also opposed the hike -- said that it is unfair to blame the Central government. “The very fact that the administration tabled this proposal displays that the ruling Sena-BJP has no control over the BEST undertaking,” said Ravi Raja, opposition leader, BEST committee.