The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has again blasted Congress for taking sides with the Shiv Sena in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The BJP has now accused the ruling Sena of privatising the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking.
In a marathon meeting that lasted for nine hours on Tuesday, a contentious proposal of hiring private conductors was cleared by BEST committee members. According to the proposal, BEST will acquire 400 CNG buses in wet-lease, along with private drivers and conductors for manning the buses. While members of the Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) jointly supported the proposal, BJP members expressed their disapproval.
The new contract will be awarded to a private contractor for a period of ten years and would cost Rs 1,942 crore to BEST.
“The administration has taken first step towards privatisation at a time when there are more than 600 job applications pending on compassionate grounds” said Sunil Ganacharya, senior BEST committee member.
“Instead of opposing the proposal, Congress being the Opposition in the BMC supported such a proposal,” said Prabhakar Shinde, BJP group leader in BMC.
Senior BJP corporator and BEST committee member Prakash Gangadhare announced that the workers of BEST union will march to Mantralaya on February 18 as a sign of protest.
Meanwhile, Ravi Raja, BEST committee member and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in BMC said that his party supported the proposal only for the new buses and would immediately demand rolling back of tender if there's any job cut.
"BEST needs to expand its fleet at the earliest as rider-ship has grown rapidly in the past one year and there are not enough buses to cater to the service of Mumbaikars,” Raja told FPJ.
BEST chairperson Praveen Shinde stated BEST will be in 'complete control' of the new buses along with employees.
“The management has assured me that not a single employee will lose his job and there will be no friction between the employees as well,” Shinde told FPJ.