The coin shortage (reported by MiD DAY on December 15) in the city has hit the BEST so hard that the undertaking*s chairman was forced to visit the Siddhivinayak temple yesterday to ask for coins from their donation box in lieu of paper currency.
While Subhash Mayekar, chairman of the Siddhivinayak temple trust agreed to BEST chairman Sanjay Potnis* request, even the additional coins from the temple*s donation boxes will not be enough to make up for BEST*s shortfall.
BEST chairman Sanjay Potnis had requested to the chairman of the Siddhivinayak temple trust for the coins from the donation boxes as the BEST has been reeling from a severe coin crunch
Potnis is expected to go to the Mahalakshmi temple to make the same request of them soon. The undertaking has been reeling from a severe coin crunch and bus conductors have taken to writing balance amounts on the back of tickets and asking commuters to collect the change from the Wadala bus depot.
This move, which makes commuters travel from as far off as Navi Mumbai to Wadala to collect an amount as small as Rs 2, has raised their hackles.
Ravindran Menon, a resident of Navi Mumbai is one among the 46 lakh commuters who travel by BEST daily. Earlier this week, Menon gave a 20-rupee note to a bus conductor for a 12-rupee ticket and was asked to collect the remaining Rs 8 from Wadala.
"I can*t believe that they expect me to travel all the way to Wadala to collect the change. I would end up spending more money in going there than the cash I would get," said Menon.
BEST officials pointed out that if the commuter cannot make the trip to Wadala, he can send it there by post and the Wadala branch will, after verification, send the refund in the form of a money order after deducting the money order charges.
However, GPO director (HQ) Abba Singh, while confirming the availability of the service, said she could not remember any case off-hand where the BEST had used it foru00a0 any refund.
The Other Side
BEST Chairman Sanjay Potnis confirmed that BEST was facing a shortage of coins and said he has already instructed his staff to make refund provisions in all the 25 BEST depots.u00a0
"I will also be meeting senior officials in the RBI, who currently provide coins worth Rs 15 lakh to the BEST on a weekly basis, to request them to increase the sum," he added.