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BMC loans Rs 150 crore to BEST to solve financial woes

A budgetary provision for Rs 150 crore has been approved for the cash-strapped body

Paying heed to the demand of political parties, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sanctioned the first installment of financial help for the cash-strapped Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) on Tuesday. The administration cleared a proposal to give Rs 37.50 crore to BEST, which will be handed over next week. Help will be provided in four installments and each installment will amount to 25 per cent of the grand total.

In February, the BMC made a budgetary provision for Rs 150 crore for the year 2014-2015, to help BEST’s transport division. In addition to this, on March 17, the BMC created a Dedicated Urban Transport Fund (DUTF), which will accumulate funds for the BEST through parking fees, utilities trenching charges, premium from parking lots constructed by builders and advertising hoardings. From April 1 to 30 June, the BMC managed to collect R37.5 crore through the DUTF.

“We will be able to get the Rs 37.5 crore and this will surely help BEST in recovering from the losses,” said AS Tamboli, public relations officer of BEST, which has faced losses amounting to Rs 700 crore. The installments will play a vital role as BEST refrained from hiking fares for the next one year.

In April, BEST had proposed to hike bus fares by a minimum of one rupee but with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections, the BMC’s ruling party Shiv Sena demanded help for BEST, which was later approved by civic chief Sitaram Kunte.

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