Mumbai: BEST disregarding safety norms

Updated: May 29, 2020, 07:33 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST accuses undertaking of being negligent towards staff

Traffic police constable checks passenger Id card in a BEST bus near Siddhivinyak Temple. File pic/ Bipin Kokate
Traffic police constable checks passenger Id card in a BEST bus near Siddhivinyak Temple. File pic/ Bipin Kokate

With more than 200 COVID-19 cases in the BEST Undertaking, activists from Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST (AMAB) said despite repeated appeals to the management, there has been a little response and that safety protocols are not being followed.

Activist Vidyadhar Date from AMAB said, "There is a huge difference in the number of deaths given out by the trade unions and the BEST administration. It is likely that the official numbers of deaths due to COVID-19 are underestimated due to the entry on the death certificate.

While the cause of death may be contested, the number of workers who have died — 22 — is not in dispute. These deaths have occurred during the lockdown and all those who died were from the transport section (drivers, conductors) who are at the highest risk of exposure to the virus."

BEST officials, however, refuted the allegations saying that they have been following all protocols of safety and that the buses are being sanitised as per regulations.

A senior official said that if employees were not satisfied with the measures, they would have participated in the protest call given by unions and NGOs. "Not a single employee participated despite appeals. Also, every employee is being looked after properly and paid an additional R300 per day for his work and there has been a sufficient supply of masks and sanitisers. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 is under control and over 120 people have been discharged, which shows the recovery rate of 50 per cent," he added.

A BEST spokesperson said, "Seven more BEST employees recovered from COVID-19 infection on Thursday and the total discharge figure touch 130 - 52 per cent recovery rate. Moreover, 15 were in a critical state and the recovery rate amongst serious patients has now touched 32 per cent.

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