Mumbai: Former BEST committee chairman and legislator from Shiv Sena party Sanjay Potnis has blamed BJP for the losses incurred by the Bombay Electric Supply and Tramway (BEST) on account of AC buses.
Potnis said, “When I was the chairman of BEST committee I opposed King Long company AC bus. But later the decision to buy AC bus was taken under the BJP leader chairmanship Dilip Patel and Pravin Chedda (now in Congress).”
“I emphasised more on buying 150 Volvo buses than purchasing 200 King long AC buses. If that would have been accepted the service would have been much better today,” Potnis said.
Replying to the allegations made by the Sena legislator, Patel, BJP former corporator, said, “During my chairmanship in BEST committee the paperwork for purchasing AC bus was already completed by the earlier chairman (Sanjay Potnis), so there is no question of me favouring King Long AC bus.”
While Raviraja, the present Leader of Opposition (LoP), from Congress, in the corporation, remarked, “During tender process two companies approached for the AC bus project: one was King Long company and other Tata. But as the difference in price was of Rs12 lakh, the offer was given to King Long AC bus, though we demanded the tender be given to Tata.”
“Today BEST is unable to spend crores of rupees on the maintenance of AC buses due to constant technical faults. Hence the decision to stop AC BEST bus has been taken,” he said.
“The BEST committee met Ajoy Mehta, the civic commissioner, few times asking for subsidy. However, Mehta directed BEST to cut losses and asked them to increase the fare by Rs 2. He also advised that BEST ply buses on routes which have a high number of passengers and restrict the number of buses to 350. Only if they require more buses should they have hired from another company,” Raviraja said.