Not the BEST laid plans
Opposition parties Congress and MNS lash out at BJP-led state government for asking BEST to release its land for the Inter State Bus Terminal
Last Thursday, opposition parties, Congress and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), lashed out at the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and ruling party Shiv Sena during the BEST meeting at the Colaba Electric House. They raised an issue over the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)’s proposal to the BEST administration to release their land to set up an Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT).
The opposition parties blamed the BJP-led state government for its inaction in saving the Undertaking. Instead, they want to give away their prime properties to the MMRDA they claimed. “The government wants to take away our land at Anik and Prateeksha Nagar depots to set up the ISBT. We have opposed this proposal,” said Ravi Raja, BEST Committee member from Congress.
The two bus depots total to 40 acres and can accommodates more than 250 buses. Sources said that with the upcoming real-estate development in Wadala and the presence of Monorail, land prices have escalated. Also, there is lot of scope of using the spare land to set up housing quarters for employees.
According to the MNS, the BJP has been collecting money through various taxes, including toll services, from the BEST and taking away their land parcels.
“The state government is not doing much to revive the fortunes of BEST Undertaking. The Centre’s Smart City project doesn’t talk much about BEST, which is a vital public transport agency,” said Kedar Hombalkar, BEST Committee member from MNS.
The opposition parties taunted Nitin Gadkari for speaking about different modes of transport without mentioning what it had in store for BEST.
The Centre plans to give R100 crore as part of the Smart City scheme, but there was no clarity on the allocation for BEST.
On the other hand, BJP members Akash Purohit and Santosh Thakur kept mum and even Shiv Sena, which heads the BEST Undertaking, steered clear from a debate.
Meanwhile, sources in MMRDA said that they were looking at shifting the ISBT out of the city.