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'Take preventive action, don't procrastinate'

The steel bus stops across the city have become a matter of concern for the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST). Following the death of a 22 year-old man, after he was electrocuted while leaning against the steel bus stop’s pole at Mahim, on May 3 and the 13 /7 blasts of 2011 that wrecked the bus stop at Dadar Kabutar Khana, the BEST committee members are a disgruntled lot.

They are furious that the administration didn’t take any preventive measures earlier and is springing into action only after people are having fatal accidents. They claim that soon after the 13/7 blasts, the BEST undertaking had stated that it would ask the contractors to regularly maintain these steel bus stops, which display illuminated advertisements, by conducting periodic checks. Unfortunately, this practice was carried out only for a few days.

“The administration is acting only after such incidents occur. Even after the blasts, they had claimed that contractors would be asked to maintain the bus stops. But there hasn’t been any preventive action,” said Dilip Patel, member (BJP), BEST Committee. Similarly other committee members also claim that the BEST administration has a lackadaisical approach towards the contractors. “They are blaming the contractors for these incidents but the BEST is also equally responsible,” added Zia Rehman, member (Congress), BEST Committee.

However, the BEST administration claims that they are taking stringent measures. “We have asked the contractors to produce a fitness certificate from the public works department before taking electricity supply. It seems that in the May 3 incident, the meter was tampered with. Until the contractors don’t produce this clearance certificate, power supply will be barred,” said a senior BEST official.

There are 2,796 steel bus stops with electronic hoardings in the city. It might be recalled that last December, a nine year-old boy was killed in a collision at Sion between a school bus and an advertisement board placed precariously on a streetlight pole. The rights over Mumbai’s streetlight poles lie with the BEST, as it is also the key electricity supplier to the city. The undertaking awards contracts to private firms for maintaining and selling advertisements. 

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