Commuters rush to board a BEST bus amidst the lockdown.
Commuters rush to board a BEST bus amidst the lockdown.
BL Soni

The BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking committee members are an angry lot. They have slammed the administration for paying part salary to its employees in coins, despite signing a memorandum of agreement with a bank.

Earlier on January 5, the BEST committee gave a nod to a contract with a public bank for regularly lifting cash from BEST depots and bus stations. However, on January 14, the BEST management issued a circular informing its employees that, this month, they will receive a salary up to Rs 16,000 in the form of cash and coins of smaller denominations earned from ticket sales.

“Receiving salary in the form of coins and currency is tedious and nobody takes the blame if an employee gets damaged notes,” said Sunil Ganacharya, senior BEST committee member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He informed that 10 days after the contract was approved on January 5, the bank didn't send its employees to lift cash from the depots.

“The administration told us the contract is about only coin lifting and not for disbursing salaries. They tabled the proposal in haste without having a proper understanding on the matter,” Ganacharya added.

Praveen Shinde, BEST committee chairperson, stated that the contract between BEST and the bank is in the final stages. The ultimate agreement has not been signed yet. “Coins worth crores have accumulated at BEST depots, as cash has not been lifted post-lockdown. The management has no other way to disburse those coins, as the bank has not started lifting cash yet,” Shinde said.

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