Mumbai: BEST to join hands with SBI for cash collection

The managing committee of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has approved a contract with the State Bank of India (SBI) for regular cash lifting from various BEST depots and bus stations and distributing salary to the BEST employees. Presently BEST earns around Rs 2 crore regularly from ticket sales. The undertaking signs an MoU with a bank, which lifts the cash from the depots regularly and deposits it into their account.

Earlier, BEST had the same contract with another private bank, BEST committee chairman, Praveen Shinde, however, stated, the previous bank had stopped lifting cash from the BEST depots, amid the pandemic outbreak.

“Since the previous bank had stopped lifting cash post lockdown, it is BEST employees who are managing the finance by keeping a track of the daily revenue since then,” Shinde told FPJ.

According BEST committee members, regularly the undertaking generates around Rs 7 lakh in the form of coins which eventually accumulates between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore in coins each month. Till date, BEST employees would get part of their salary in coins as most of the transactions in the undertaking is being made by coins.

Now that a new bank has been roped in, henceforth BEST employees will get their salaries credited to their bank accounts. Senior committee member, Sunil Ganacharya stated the BEST had floated its tender thrice, however, not a single bank came forward for the bidding.

“The proposed contract with SBI was pending for a long time and the new contract will be made by maintaining the same terms and conditions BEST had with the earlier banks” Ganacharya told FPJ.

However, in the meeting Ganacharya had pointed out a number of issues and urged the BEST management to consider redrafting the policy.

“There needs to be a policy regarding fake and tampered notes in the contract, because if the bank doesn't take responsibility of assessing the notes then conductors may fall prey to the management policies” Ganacharya stated, he also urged the BEST management to not sign a long term contract and start with a one year contract instead, on a pilot basis.

Members of the committee also pointed out that there are total 170 cash collection point in the BEST including all the depots and bus stations, but the new contract states that new bank will collect cash from only 100 depots.

“The members have given their inputs on the matter, the management will assess them and may put it forward in front of the committee for further assessment if required,” Shinde stated.

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