Tuesday, Jun 25, 2019 | Last Update : 08:10 PM IST

BEST strike continues; privatisation on cards?

THE ASIAN AGE. | SONU SHRIVASTAVA
Published : Jan 13, 2019, 1:52 am IST
Updated : Jan 13, 2019, 1:52 am IST

It is one of the 3 solutions being considered by authorities.

A source said in the meeting, it had been told that BEST has a short fall of Rs 700 crore annually to meet its need.
 A source said in the meeting, it had been told that BEST has a short fall of Rs 700 crore annually to meet its need.

Mumbai: The 25-lakh commuters will have no respite from the ongoing  Brihanmum-bai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) bus strike in Mumbai at least till Monday. A meeting was held at Mantralaya between the state chief secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain-led committee and the BEST workers’ union to find a way to end the strike and to discuss their demands, but it was inconclusive.

Shashank Rao, general secretary of the BEST workers’ union, said that although the discussion with the state government was positive but the strike will continue. They have heard our demands patie-ntly. Meanwhile, the state chief secretary told The Asian Age, “I will send my report to the high court.”

Mr Rao said that the committee has understood our demands and issues, now we are waiting for their reply. The strike would continue till the issues are resolved.

Following the directions of the Bombay high court, the committee, comprising of the state chief secretary, secretaries of the transport and urban deve-lopment departments and the general manager of BEST on Saturday met the Union leaders to end the impasse.

A source said in the meeting, it had been told that BEST has a short fall of Rs 700 crore annually to meet its need. Three ideas are under consideration to generate the revenue to fulfil demands of the Union. This includes privatisation of the BEST, leasing BEST buses to private firms and the BMC providing funds to the BEST administration. However, the decision is yet to be taken.

A senior official of Mantralaya said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has once again made it clear that it is not in favour of merging the BMC’s and the loss-making transport undertaking’s budgets, as demanded by the union.

Close to 40,000 BEST employees are on indefinite strike since Monday midnight, as the BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti, a joint action committee of labour unions, is demanding higher grade pay for employees recruited from 2007 onwards, resume compassionate appointments and start deliberations on new wage agreement that was supposed to come into effect from April 2016.

Tags: best employees, brihanmumbai municipal corporation, best strike