Look after your own as you look after commuters

Published: Nov 13, 2019, 05:11 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Residents say that they are beset with leakages, cracks in the walls and collapsing slabs

This picture has been used for representation purpose only
This picture has been used for representation purpose only

They are called the BEST but ironically, are often in the worst conditions. A BEST committee member on Monday lashed out at the administration over poor living conditions in the BEST quarters, calling for a structural audit by IIT-Bombay for the quarters in Parel. In a strongly worded letter, the member claimed that the quarters in Parel are only the first of many in urgent need of repairs. The letter also sought redevelopment if the cost of maintenance proves to be too high. Former employees too have spoken up in the matter.

There are at least 1,600 apartments in the BEST staff quarters at Parel. Residents say that they are beset with leakages, cracks in the walls and collapsing slabs. They demanded that the administration visit the quarters and see the conditions for themselves.

That can be a starting point to ascertain the merit in these complaints. They may very well be true given the details given by staffers. The BEST must begin minimum repairs for the most affected parts of the quarters.

A visit by the administration can be an initial confidence-building measure and a sign of reassurance that the administration is willing to listen. And whatever action is taken after this will an affirmation. Recently, there was a big push to save the BEST. One of Mumbai's most enduring symbols and an indispensible part of the city's commuting ecosystem was in danger of extinction due to heavy losses. Fares were cut substantially and routes were increased to get the service back on track. Now BEST must ensure that its staffers get to live in safe and clean conditions. Their morale will also affect their work. BEST, which prides itself on looking after stranded, harried Mumbai commuters, need to look after their own too.

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