Advertisement

Mumbai

Updated on: Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 08:44 PM IST

Mumbai: BEST losses continue to rise; deficit expected to touch Rs 10000 crore by 2022-23

As per estimates drawn in budget 2022-23, losses to the tune of Rs 2230 crore is expected. If we analyze the data then one would realize that the finances of BEST Undertaking were getting redder by the year for the past 18-20 years now.
Mumbai: BEST losses continue to rise; deficit expected to touch Rs 10000 crore by 2022-23 | PTI

Mumbai: BEST losses continue to rise; deficit expected to touch Rs 10000 crore by 2022-23 | PTI

Advertisement

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST)'s financial trouble is escalating by the year. On December 14, the BEST authority had an internal high-level meeting as the total deficit is expected to touch Rs 10000 crore by 2022-23. As per estimates drawn in budget 2022-23, losses to the tune of Rs 2230 crore is expected. If we analyze the data then one would realize that the finances of BEST Undertaking were getting redder by the year for the past 18-20 years now.

Wobbling finances

This can be seen in the statistics compiled by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) in its ‘ Basic Transport and Communications Statistics for MMR’ published in December 2020, which hasn’t been made public yet. According to this report, the expenditures of BEST have increased by more than 2.35 times from Rs 86900 lakhs in 2000-01 to Rs 204763 lakh in 2018-19.

The revenues have barely jumped by 1.48 times from Rs 69610 lakh to Rs 103478 lakh. Sources in MMRDA clarified that as BEST could not provide data on all aspects of revenues while collating it; and so there are columns where they have published ‘NA (not applicable)’ for years 2015-16 to 2018-19. If we access the data then as the 21st century started, the revenues of BEST consistently increased as it breached the five figures amount with Rs 112355 lakh in 2010-11.

By 2014-15, their revenues touched Rs 150965 lakh but after that as per MMRDA’s claims, the rows and columns show N.A from 2015-16 as data wasn’t fully available. Then onwards the revenues have seen a downfall and in 2018-19, it was Rs 103478 lakh. Looking at expenditure by 2004-05 it had touched Rs 112475, touched Rs 152393 by 2010-11, breached another lakh at Rs 203214 lakh by 2012-13 and even crossed Rs 251570 lakh in 2015-16.

For the year 2021-22, the BEST showed a deficit of Rs 1887 crore and now the proposed budget for 2022-23 has projected another Rs 2230 crore. The accumulated losses of BEST stood at Rs 4200 crore which was apart from loans taken to the tune of Rs 1400 crore till September 2021. They have an outstanding of Rs 2500 crore which needs to be paid to financial institutions besides tax liabilities of Rs 900 crore.

There is another Rs 600 crore as power procurement charges. They had also sought Rs 406 crore from BMC for paying gratuity to its 34000 employees having an interest of around Rs 50 crore. Ashish Chemburkar, the BEST Committee Chairman said that there is no doubt losses are increasing but the opposition is making it all political.

Fleet, passengers and assets

Over the past 2 decades or so, MMRDA’s study shows that BEST’s asset value rose from 2000-01 to 2014-15 after which data wasn’t available barring in 2017-18 where figures of land and buildings were provided. The BEST Undertaking has 27 depots spread across several acres of land in prime properties of Mumbai. They also have bus stations right outside railway stations which again have tremendous value.

BEST Committee member and BMC Leader of Opposition Ravi Raja said, “The accumulated losses are increasing for BEST. They have taken loans from different financial institutions and also need to repay Tata Power. The Undertaking is in a poor state and they cannot continue asking for funds or loans from BMC as otherwise it too will go in the red. The only way out is the commercialization of its assets”.

As per statistics, the net value of land owned by BEST rose from Rs 2859 lakh in 2000-01 to Rs 6679 lakh in 2017-18. Likewise, the value of buildings also has remained steady from 2000-01 that was around Rs 11221 lakh that touched Rs 12416 lakh in 2017-18. However, during mid-years, the value of buildings had dropped as it hovered around Rs 9800-7600 lakh during years 2007-08 to 2012-13.

If we look at its fleet then it owned 3430 buses in 2000-01, which became 3223 buses in 2018-19 and according to BEST they now have 3415 buses in its fleet out of which more than 1200 buses are on wet lease. It had the highest number of buses at 4700 in its fleet in 2010-11. The MMRDA data also shows that there has been a stark drop in average carrying capacity from 75 passengers in 2000-01 to 64 passengers in 2018-19.

The daily average occupancy inside buses has further dropped from 15116 lakh to 8068 lakh during this period. The BEST buses seem to be struggling in maintaining the kilometre run on fuel for both diesel and CNG. As per the statistics, in 2000-01 the diesel buses consumed 3.04 KMPL that has dropped to 2.83 KMPL. Likewise, CNG buses were running 2.74 KMPKG in 2009-10 that went down to 2.67 KMPKG.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Advertisement
Published on: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 07:00 AM IST
Advertisement