State to conduct study to make BEST Undertaking self-sustainable
Mumbai: The road transport service provider Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is facing one of its worst financial crises
Mumbai: The road transport service provider Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is facing one of its worst financial crises. To deal with imminent question of survival of the BEST Undertaking, the Maharashtra government announced to form an expert committee for conducting a study to make it self-sustainable and find out ways to keep it financially afloat.
Announcing this in the state assembly on Friday, the state industries minister Uday Samant also declared a probe into the sale of properties of BEST Undertaking located at prime locations in Mumbai. Samant said that the probe will be completed by the next session of the state legislature. He also clarified that the transport utility will not be privatised.
Samant has temporary charge of the urban development department for the ongoing budget session of the state legislature.
As financial assistance, the BMC has allotted ₹800 crore to BEST for the financial year 2023-24. BMC commissioner IS Chahal in the BMC Budget 2023 speech said that during the year 2022-23, a total amount of ₹1,382.28 crore is given as an advance to BEST Undertaking subject to the state government’s decision to treat this amount as a loan to BEST Undertaking.
Legislators such as Varsha Gaikwad, Aslam Shaikh from Congress and BJP’s Kailash Kolambkar raised the issue of financial stability of the BEST Undertaking and stressed that it has to be made financially self-sustainable. Gaikwad also demanded a probe into the decisions taken by the BEST Undertaking to sell its prime properties. Presiding officer Yogesh Sagar also suggested forming an expert committee by the state government.
Accepting the demand, Samant said, “A committee comprising experts from the transport and finance sector will be formed to study and make recommendations on making it (BEST undertaking) financially sound.
“A probe will also be conducted in the sale of prime properties by the BEST Undertaking in the city,” he added.
BEST is the second largest mode of public transport in the city, which ferries around 30 lakh passengers daily, with its fleet of 3,337 buses. It has a workforce of around 30,000 employees.