Mumbai: BEST losing out 2,500 hours of operation per day due to lack of drivers, conductors
At present, the BEST has about 8600 drivers and 11,000 conductors
BEST's decision to run buses on lease will prove to be suicidal for the undertaking in the future and that BEST buses were losing out with losses of 2,500 to 3,000 manhours of operation every day due to a shortage of drivers and conductors. Speaking at the BEST budget meeting, while BJP leader and committee member Sunil Ganacharya said the wet-leasing of buses was not affordable and would eventually lead to losses and make the undertaking dependent, another committee member Shrikant Kawthankar said that the existing buses were starting late from their depots and were being detained during relief detention, leading to loss of hours.
Reading out a chart of delays between November 18 to 20, Kawthankar said that it was immediately required to fill the empty posts of drivers and conductors. The BEST has about 8600 drivers and 11,000 conductors.
"We are just increasing buses, but where is the staff to drive and conductors to issue tickets? The new buses are being given drivers at the cost of buses. Conductors are missing in these new buses and there are many passengers that go without a ticket, unchecked due to lack of ticket checkers. This is leading to revenue loss and needs to be plugged immediately," he alleged.
Coins worth Rs 8 crore
The BEST Undertaking has coins worth Rs 8 crore lying at its various depots with an amount of Rs 5,76 crore in just five-rupee coins. Kawthankar alleged that the BEST has no clue how to dispose them off.
"With so many coins lying with them in addition to coins worth Rs 14 to 15 lakh getting accumulated every day at BEST depots, the undertaking has to make plans on how to convert them as the BEST is not only losing interest on the money but also leading to losses," he said.
"Last month, the BEST tried to give out the coins worth Rs 1.76 crore in salaries, but how many know that the employees got all the coins exchanged from their conductor colleagues and all the coins are back with the BEST. The undertaking has to find a practical way of disposing of coins, rather than harassing the poor employee," he added.
BEST committee member and Shiv Sena leader Suhas Samant said that there has been no recruitment for the past three years. "A crucial post like that of the Chief Transport Manager was lying vacant. This brings down the calculation to just 21,000 employees to handle 30 lakh commuters," Samant said.
Sena responsible for the downfall
BJP leader and committee member Prakash Gangadhare said that Shiv Sena was responsible for the downfall of the BEST. "It has been pleasing certain affiliated trade unions and leading to huge losses, making the BEST dependent on the BMC. They could not keep a check on the growing deficit," he said.
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