Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking might have to bear additional expenses of up to Rs 26 crore by the end of the year if fuel prices remain at current levels. BEST committee members have asked the administration to write a letter to the state government to reduce its fuel burden.
Committee chairman Ashish Chemburkar said they would write to the government for a waiver similar to the one demanded by State Transport Minister Diwakar Raote last week.
Raote had said in his letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that the fuel hike would have an adverse effect on the financial health of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). He added that in view of the current fuel prices, with petrol costing Rs 86.23 per litre and diesel costing Rs 73.78 per litre, BEST will face losses of Rs 13 lakh and Rs 26 crore respectively.
At present, BEST has 3,367 buses in its fleet, of which, 1,329 run on diesel, 2,002 on CNG and 31 electric. It has spent around Rs 1.39 cr on diesel between April 2017 and February 2018 and is grappling with a cumulative loss of over Rs 2,000 crore
General Secretary of Congress and BEST committee member Bhushan Patil had raised the issue of petrol and diesel price hikes in the committee meeting held on May 31. “In the last three months, the price of petroleum products has increased gradually and if this continues, soon the financial burden will keep building up on BEST,” added Patil.
However, BEST General Manager Surendrakumar Bagde, dismissed the claims and said the real loss would be clear only in July. Bagde said, “Our expenses on diesel keep fluctuating with the market rate. We calculate our fuel expenses on a quarterly basis and will be in a position to ascertain the actual impact of the fuel hike only in July.”
Meanwhile, former BEST chairman Anil Kokil said nearly 3,000 litres of petrol are lying unused at the Dadar workshop, after a wall collapse a year ago. “I don’t understand why the administration is not using the petrol lying unused in the workshop. It is a matter of concern if prices are sky-high and the administration should look into this seriously,” he said.
At present, BEST has 3,367 buses in its fleet, of which, 1,329 run on diesel, 2,002 on CNG and 31 electric. It has spent around Rs 1.39 crore on diesel between April 2017 and February 2018 and is grappling with a cumulative loss of over Rs 2,000 crore. Fuel prices rose 16 consecutive days since May 14.
BEST has seen daily passenger traffic drop to 25 lakh, from around 40 lakh a decade ago. Senior BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya of the BJP said the daily collection had dropped from Rs 3.25 crore to Rs 2.25 crore in the past year.