The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which itself rules the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has threatened to launch an agitation against the civic administration if public transport buses services were not restored in the twin-city with immediate effect.
The BJP leaders are irate over the abrupt contract termination of the private bus operator, sans the approval of the Transport Committee. “This is really absurd. Commuters are left to suffer and the administration is acting on the behest of people with vested interests. This will not be tolerated,” said leader of the house Prashant Dalvi (BJP).
MBMC’s public transport system has been in limbo since March 2020 due to the imposition of lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. After running just five out of the 70 buses on two out of the 17 routes following unlock, the private operator abruptly terminated the services, leaving countless commuters on the mercy of auto-rickshaws for their journey.
Following intimation by the local legislator of launching a hunger strike, the MBMC terminated the bus contract, last week. However, the much-hyped plans of operating the public transport authority on their own also went for a toss.
“The transport committee being a statutory body should have been informed before taking such crucial decisions. Moreover, the bus operator was willing to resume services and had sought police protection, but his appeals went to deaf ears of the administration,” alleged transport committee chief Mangesh Patil.
“Process to float fresh tender was on and as a stop gap arrangement we will soon seek expressions of interest to hire contractual staffers to run the service,” said deputy municipal commissioner Ajit Muthe.
Bus services failed to take off after around 350 workers started protesting against the agency for not paying their wages for the past five months.