Home MUMBAI Mumbai: BEST Employees refuse to end the Indefinite Strike, Raj Thackeray declares...

Mumbai: BEST Employees refuse to end the Indefinite Strike, Raj Thackeray declares support to Striking Employees; SBOA come in Rescue of Commuters with 2000 Private Buses

The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) have also increased the bus services to help reduce the hardships of the commuters. Another step towards easing the stress of the Mumbaikars in this difficult situation, School Bus Owners' Association (SBOA) has stepped forward to provide bus service of around 2,000 buses in the city.

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Mumbai: The commuters in Mumbai seem to be recalling their nightmare while commuting in the city as the employees of the second lifeline of the city, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), refuse to end their indefinite strike as the strike enters it’s 4th day on Friday. The BEST administration had warned of serious disciplinary action including arrests of the union leaders and demand to vacate the residence quarters provided by the administration, however, nothing seems to work in their favour. The BEST employees have declared an indefinite strike effective January 8, which has brought a sudden rise in the plight of the city commuters.

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The employees are demanding merging of BEST budget with ‘a’ budget of BMC, release of Diwali bonus, promotion to a section of employees, increase in their salary, residence issue as well as other issues faced by them. The employees of the civic-run transport organization resorted to indefinite strike after their talks with BEST authorities failed on January 4. The BEST administration also invoked Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) in the state in the wake of the adament BEST employees’ unions’ continuous refusals to break their strike. “The strike is illegal and the agitating staffers have been asked to resume work without delay, considering the hardships faced by the Lacs of passengers. They (striking employees) must understand that the government has invoked MESMA,” said a senior official of BEST to news agency PTI.

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The strike is called a successful protest by the BEST employees’ unions as only 0.25 percent of bus drivers and 0.03 percent bus conductors have been serving their duties as on January 8, reported ANI. Several initiatives have been taken by other stakeholders of the city transport services. The lifeline of the city, Local Trains, was increased by the Central railways on January 10 to reduce the woes of the commuters in the city. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) have also increased the bus services to help reduce the hardships of the commuters. Another step towards easing the stress of the Mumbaikars in this difficult situation, School Bus Owners’ Association (SBOA) has stepped forward to provide bus service of around 2,000 buses in the city. “1000 school buses and 1000 private buses will provide services to passengers in the light of the strike by BEST bus employees,” Anil Garg of SBOA said, quoted ANI. Garg explained the fare chart which seemed in accordance with the BEST fare chart. He said that Rs. 20 will be charged for travelling upto 10km while beyond 10km, BEST fare will be applicable.

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On the other hand, the BEST employees and their wives have met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief, Raj Thackeray, on January 10 to seek his support for their indefinite strike. Thackeray has, reportedly, assured the striking employees of providing all the support they need from his side. Additionally, Thackeray had signalled to the employees to continue to protest for their demands. “If BMC BEST do not fulfill the demands of the striking employees then they will try to get it done in their own style,” warned Manoj Chavan, President, MNS Kamgar Sena. It is a daunting task for the civic body to deal with the situation as over 70 lac commuters in the city, who are dependent on 3,200 ‘red buses’ of BEST for commuting across the city, have no option than to continue to commute in stress.

(With Inputs from ANI & PTI)
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