BEST has sent a proposal to abolish 665 posts from its traffic department alone. The proposal was made in the BEST budget estimate for 2017- 2018.

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will downsize its staff strength to cut down its establishment. The proposed plans are to abolish a total of 694 posts out of which 665 posts are of conductors and drivers immediately. The remaining 27 posts will be abolished as and when the post falls vacant in various categories.

The scrapping of these posts means the vacant posts will not be filled after a staffer retires. The proposal was made in the BEST budget estimate for 2017- 2018.  The abolishment of 665 posts will help to save a total amount of `19.75 crores approximately per annum. Currently, this public transport facility is running into hundreds of crores of rupees. For the last two years, the BEST had taxed the island city residents with surcharged electricity bills, which have been reduced since over a month.

At present, the traffic department of BEST holds a total strength of 28,000 staff consisting of drivers, conductors and other operational staff. BEST has sent a proposal to abolish 665 posts from its traffic department alone.

Sunil Ganacharya, General Secretary of BEST workers union said, “We have decided to reduce the establishment costs and keep the staff level to the minimum possible by abolishing 665 posts immediately. The establishment costs keeps on increasing every year, the abolishment of conductors and drivers will help us reduce the establishment amount since the wages amount given to them will be saved. The remaining 27 posts will be abolished as and when the post of clerk, peon, and security guards falls vacant in BEST.”

Out of 4200 BEST buses, around 30 to 40 buses break down on a daily basis. BEST buses incur losses of around Rs 900 crore on an annual basis. “We also receive around 30 to 40 complaints regarding the cleanliness and the behaviour of conductors and drivers on a daily basis. The new proposal will have no effect on the bus routes, since the routes change every four months,” added Ganacharya.

The budget proposal will need clearance from the BEST committee before going to the standing committee for the final approval.

R Sudarshan, (40), a daily BEST commuter said, “BEST drivers and conductors lack etiquette. They need to behave properly in a tourist city like Mumbai. As far as buses are concerned, BEST must introduce more double-decker buses to increase the passenger carrying capacity.”

Ravi Raja, BEST committee member said, “The conductors and drivers will be needed after BEST receives additional buses in near future. The management needs to give us proper reasons for abolishing posts on an urgent basis. Decision will be taken by the committee based on reasons given by management.”

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