mid-day impact: BEST orders water cut for washing buses

BEST Undertaking decides to lessen amount of water used to wash buses by 50%, till the monsoon arrives; buses will now be washed only when necessary

The next time you travel in a BEST bus, don't mind if there's a sliver of dirt on your seat. Four days after mid-day reported about BEST using potable water for washing its fleet every day, the undertaking has decided to curtail its water usage drastically by washing buses with less water and only when necessary.

The officials are hoping for early rains as now they fear that the number of buses will further come down. File pic
The officials are hoping for early rains as now they fear that the number of buses will further come down. File pic

Sources said that on an average, at least 50 litres less water from the usual quantum would be used for washing buses, whenever they are cleaned. Over the last few weeks, the authorities have lessened the use of water by 50 per cent.

mid-day had reported on April 26 how out of 27 BEST depots, 23 have been using potable water. The report stated that the undertaking uses over 70,000 litres of water for the cleaning everyday, and almost the entire amount comes from the BMC's potable water supply. Now, the officials have sent a letter to all depots, asking them to ensure that they use minimum amount of water for washing buses. "We will wash only those buses that are in dire need of cleanliness, until the monsoon arrives," said a BEST official.

The officials are hoping for early rains as now, they fear that the number of buses — around 400 — that currently go for daily washing will further come down. The existing amount of water for manually washing a bus, around 200 litres, has been brought down.

"Currently, there is no segregation or system for supplying potable and non-potable water throughout the city. Unless that happens, total separation and dependence on non-potable water is not possible," said another official.

mid-day's April 26 report
mid-day's April 26 report

"The BEST administration needs to make a provision for more borewells at its depots," said Ravi Raja, BEST committee member.

At present, four depots have borewells. BEST was instructed to use borewell water, but officials had earlier said they had not done so because of lack of funds to dig borewells. They also use mechanised cleaning machines, which consume 40 per cent less water.

Uproar over slashing of fares

Meanwhile, BEST also faced an uproar from its committee members for declaring stoppage of 52 routes from May 1. mid-day had reported about the same yesterday. They also slashed the fares of air-conditioned buses by half, which they claimed is a tactic for diverting the issue of these cancellations.

"The public is knocking on our door, asking us why is an important bus route, which ferried them from home to the station and back has been cancelled," said committee member Yakub Memon. Deputy general manager R R Deshpande said, "We will have to approach the union and they will have go give their nod and only then will we be able to change it. If not, we will try to make some changes in the schedule and keep a few of the 52 routes still running."

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