BEST on the road to privatisation?

 Mumbai
BEST on the road to privatisation?

The Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) is planning to, for the first time in its 143 year old existence,  planning to source 100 buses on rental basis.

The BEST, which has been running into losses for the last few years, claims it is unable to pay staff salaries and has sought parent Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) help to tide over the crisis. Meanwhile, it has put forward a proposal to get 100 buses on rent to the BEST committee. 

The BEST is planning to source 100 non AC buses for a period of five years. Of these, 50 buses will run for 4, 250 km per month and 50 buses will run 5000 km per month. Tenders were invited from interested companies for the same. Sources say Prassanna Purple Mobility Solutions has been awarded the tender. This company will provide buses, bus drivers and diesel and will also look after maintenance of the vehicles. The BEST however will man the buses with its own conductors, we learn. The BMC has reportedly spent Rs. 300 crore on this project.

"The BEST cannot buy new buses and so the money will be able to use to rent new buses,” Jagdish Patel, BEST general manager said.

BEST committee senior member and Congress group leader Ravi Raja has alleged that the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party are responsible for the BEST’s poor financial condition. The BEST buses run on Rs 51 per km while private buses require Rs. 61 per km. He has pointed out that the BEST will be spending more per bus, if the private vehicles are brought on to the roads.


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