Man dressed at Santa sanitises a BEST bus.
Man dressed at Santa sanitises a BEST bus.
Bhushan Koyande

The BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking presented its deficit budget for the financial year 2021-22 to the house of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday.

The Rs 1,887 crore deficit budget was drafted by the BEST management earlier in October, 2020, following which it was sent to the BMC standing committee for approval. The committee had referred back the budget to the house of the BMC and now the house is likely to refer the budget back to the BEST committee.

Ravi Raja, senior BEST committee member, who is also a member of the BMC standing committee stated, this is for the fourth time BEST had sent a deficit budget for approval to the civic body.

“As per the BMC rules, BEST cannot send a deficit budget for approval. The budget was referred back by the standing committee earlier and now the house will send it back to the BEST committee,” Raja told the Free Press Journal.

He informed that the house of the civic body has the sole right of approving or referring back a budget to the BEST committee.

For the ongoing financial year, BMC had allotted Rs 1,500 cr to the transport undertaking. However, owing to the revenue shortfall caused due to the pandemic, BMC had slashed the budget by Rs 300 crore.

BEST committee chairman Praveen Shinde said that the budget will be further assessed by the BEST committee, following which it will be sent to the committee for final approval before the budget in February.

In the following financial year, BEST has planned to expand its fleet to 6,300 buses. Nearly 340 electric buses are expected to join the BEST fleet this year and tender has been floated for acquiring 100 plus double decker buses as well.

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