Mira Bhayandar: In a major setback to the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), the Bombay High Court on Thursday accepted the plea of the private bus operator allowing him to commence bus services from Friday and gradually resume normal operations in all the designated routes within two to three days.
Last week, after extended rounds of deliberations, the civic administration had terminated the contract of the private operator – Bhagirathi Trans Corporation. However, the operator sought judicial intervention against the abrupt termination.
In response to the writ petition (94075/2020) a bench comprising Justice RI Chagla and Justice SJ Kathawalla not only allowed the petitioner to resume bus services but also directed the Commissioner of Police to provide adequate security to the employees to enable them to remove the buses from the depot.
Around 350 workers started protesting against the agency for not paying their wages for the past five months. In wake of the judicial orders, top civic and police officials huddled into a meeting with the private operator and the striking employees on Friday evening to resolve the deadlock. However, buses were yet to hit the roads till reports last came in.
It has been alleged that despite terminating the contract, the MBMC failed to operate the bus fleet on its own, giving ample time and opportunity for the contractor to get a reprieve from the court.
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.