Mumbai: Committee members of the BEST has raised concerns about the BMC budget. The BMC in its annual budget on Tuesday allotted a grant-in-aid of Rs1,500 crore to the cash-strapped BEST on the condition the fund should be used to repay loss, settling financial disputes and improvising managerial policy.
The civic body also laid terms to the transport undertaking in its budget statement, saying the BEST should responsibly use funds in a fruitful way and must show results by generating more revenue by adding more buses to its fleets.
However, compared to the grant-in-aid allotted in the previous financial year, the fund was lesser this year because the grant allotted in the last budget was Rs1,900 crore. Meanwhile, BEST committee members stated the allotted funds are not adequate enough to pull out the transport undertaking from its present dismal financial health. Senior BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya stated the budget is only about noise and not much developments is going to happen.
“Knowing the dismal condition of the transport undertaking, BMC has slashed the grant. How come is this going to help us when nothing major happened with increased funds last year,” said Ganacharya.
Further, he claims, BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi had earlier assured the transport undertaking that the civic body will provide a monthly aid of Rs100 crore to BEST, which was never followed up, due to which there has been an increase in financial disputes among the employees.
“With last year’s fund, BEST has taken buses on wet lease. However, BEST is paying the private contractors instead of solving the financial disputes of the employees,” he added.
Echoing his sentiment, BEST committee member and BJP corporator Prakash Gangadhare stated, apart from imposing restrictions, the civic body needs to help the undertaking in developing alternative measures of profits. “The BMC imposes tax as per commercial rates on the BEST premises despite knowing we are not a commercial body. The body should take other steps of curbing expenses instead of imposing all the responsibilities on us,” stated Gangadhare.