Mumbai civic body to merge BEST Undertaking’s budget with its own

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to merge the budget of the loss-making Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) undertaking with its own in the following financial year.

Earlier in December, BMC had sent out a proposal to the state government for merging the budget of the two entities. On Friday, Yashwant Jadhav, BMC standing committee chairperson, confirmed the development with the Free Press Journal and informed that process of merging the budget has already begun.

“For the following financial year, budget of BEST will be merged with the overall municipal budget. At present we are working on the details and we will soon appoint a consultant to assess the expenditures and cash outflow in the BEST,” Jadhav told FPJ.

On Thursday a high profile meeting was held in the BMC where this issue was discussed by state minister Aaditya Thackeray, Transport Minister Anil Parab, BEST chairperson Praveen Shinde along with other members of BEST management committee.

In the ongoing financial year, BMC had sanctioned Rs 1,500 to the BEST of which, Jadhav told, the civic body had already cleared Rs 1,000 crore. For the following financial year the undertaking had sent out a deficit budget showing a loss of Rs 2,200 crore. “Since 2017, BEST has been sending deficit budget to the civic body, we have provided 1,700 crore to the BEST so far but the undertaking is yet to show where their expenditures have went,” Jadhav stated.

The standing committee chairman also highlighted that in order to make optimum use of manpower, employees of the BEST would be appointed in various departments of the BMC, once the budget is merged.

He also asserted that the change in budget would not affect the process of bringing in more buses in the undertaking. “400 new buses will join the BEST fleet in this year, in order to curb the losses, these buses will be procured on wet-lease and will not be owned by us,” Jadhav stated.

The standing committee chairman further highlighted that once the budget is merged, some of the routes which doesn't attract heavy footfall will be made defunct while more buses will be pressed into service in routes which has heavy demand amongst passengers.

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