Mumbai: The cash-strapped Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will borrow money to repay the Rs 561.58 crore in dues it owes Tata Power. This was decided after the BEST committee meeting held on Monday. The BEST committee held an urgent meeting with BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi to discuss the issue.
After this, Pardeshi spoke to officials from Tata Power officials and assured them that the BEST would pay its bills at the earliest. Tata Power then agreed to give the undertaking a month’s time to pay the dues. The BEST will pay the amount in three instalments, of which it paid Rs 125 crore on Tuesday.
The BEST deputy general manager, Ranjeet Singh, said the undertaking does not have funds to clear its dues. On hearing this, corporators across party lines slammed the BEST administration for its poor management. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members of the BEST committee walked out of the meeting in protest claiming they had not been kept in the loop on this issue.
BEST committee member Ashish Chemburkar accused the BEST general manager, Surendrakumar Bagde of having kept the committee in the dark on such a serious issue. Other committee members, including Suhas Samant, Sunil Ganacharya, Nana Ambole, Srikant Kavatankar, Pravin Shinde, Sunil Ahire and Bhushan Patil, were irked at the ‘irresponsible behaviour’ of the BEST. Thereafter, the meeting had to be adjourned for lack of quorum.
“Failure to pay the outstanding amount would have resulted in a power cut from Colaba to Bandra. This meant, Mantralaya, ministerial residences, offices, hospitals and other institutions in these areas would have been left in the dark. However, the problem has been solved,” said Anil Patankar, BEST committee chairman.