Boost for power, jolt for transport

BEST scraps TDLR for power consumers and cancels 52 bus routes across the city so as to cut losses 

Mumbai : The BEST Undertaking made two big announcements on Friday, viz. cancellation of TDLR for power users in the island city and cancellation of 52 bus routes across the city so as to reduce its losses in the transport business.

BEST announced that it has submitted a proposal to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) asking for the power tariff without the TDLR. The MERC after the public hearing after May 25, will submit a new tariff for BEST power. However, the BEST power users got some extent of relief that BEST Undertaking has moved a step ahead to cancel the TDLR. Cancellation of the TDLR will reduce the power bills by 15 to 20 percent, a BEST officer said. However, from which month the TDLR will not be surcharged will be decided by MERC only.

The BEST committee chairman taking credit on the BEST Undertaking’s move towards cancellation of the TDLR said, “ I met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis with Ashish Shelar on April 6, the day I took charge. The BJP always had a say that TDLR should not be surcharged as it creates an additional burden for our 10 lakh power consumers. After the meeting with the CM, the cancellation of TDLR process was fast tracked, Mithbavkar added.”

The BEST on Friday also rolled out its new buses schedule which is likely to be operated from May 1 where 52 bus routes are cancelled. Although the decision was taken by the BEST management on Thursday evening, the BEST committee members on Friday strongly protested the decision and demanded postponing the decision of cancellation of routes at least for a month so that a proper study can be undertaken with collaboration of the BEST management and committee members. But despite the annoyance of the members, the new schedule is likely to be followed from May 1.

The BEST Undertaking on Thursday evening had declared that it is revising some of its routes, terminating some and cancelling 52 routes. The declaration was surprising for BEST committee members as they were not considered before taking the decision. The BEST committee chairman Mohan Mithbavkar expressed his disappointment by saying, “It was not discussed with me before taking such a big decision of cancelling such a huge numbers of buses. We corporators are answerable to public and many commuters are upset with BEST’s decision. I think the management should have consulted the BEST committee,” Mithbavkar added. BEST Committee member Ravi Raja brought a notice of motion in the committee meeting on Friday demanding  postponement of the decision. He said the cancellation of some routes is not justified as they have good patronage. The committee members also demanded that the BEST management should give a clarification report as to what study is done to cancel and revise so many routes. However, despite the protest by the committee members it likely that the cancellation of 52 routes will be continued at least for next 3 months.

According to a source, “We have cancelled the TDLR now which was a source of revenue. The decision is taken in order to reduce the deficit BEST faces out of these routes. These routes are non-profitable as we do not get good patronage. The cancellation of 52 routes will save BEST’s funds.”

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Protest in house

Corporators in the BMC house on Friday protested against BEST’s decision to scrap 52 routes. The Congress corporators demanded that BEST should rethink its decision and accordingly to adjourn the house as a protest. The Shiv Sena corporators also supported the Congress and the house was adjourned.

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