The Shiv Sena-led committee of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is mulling a no-confidence motion against its general manager, Surendrakumar Bagde. In a panel meeting held on Thursday, members expressed reservation over the “inappropriate” behaviour of the GM towards senior BEST officials, which they said, was affecting the functioning of the undertaking. A no-confidence motion, if passed by the quorum of the undertaking, will be considered approved and will then be sent to the parent body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government for approval. It is the first time that a no-confidence motion may be filed against the GM.
“At least 200 bus depots give Trimax machines to the conductors that face charging issues. In spite of reminding the GM on several occasions about the issue, no action has been taken,” said Suhas Samant, a Shiv Sena committee member. Bus conductors have been asking for replacement of Trimax electronic ticketing machines for issuing tickets to commuters. While new machines were supplied by the company, they were returned after the administration felt they did not meet the required standards. The BEST went back to using manually printed paper tickets.
Samant said: “The general manager had asked for the formation of a sub-committee to decide over the issue of Trimax. While the committee submitted its report, the GM refused to adhere to the recommendations. Over his delay in allowing BEST employees to use new ticketing machines, the undertaking faces a loss of Rs 50 lakh every day… If the GM fails to take corrective action at the earliest, we will prepare the motion against him.” The bus utility faces an accumulated loss of around Rs 2,000 crore. Anil Kokil, another Sena committee member of the BEST, said: “Employees have mentioned about the rash behaviour of the manager towards them. If such a situation prevails, then the working of the undertaking will suffer.”
Bagde, who is in the United States for personal reasons, was not present at the meeting. In the earlier committee meetings, members have also raised objection to the “frequent foreign tours” of the GM. “We will observe the behaviour of the general manager for a month or so. Till that time, he must take actions as recommended by the committee. The Trimax issue has been lingering since the past six years and it is time action is taken at the earliest,” said Ashish Chemburkar, BEST committee chairperson. Ravi Raja, a Congress committee member of the BEST, said: “We will support if such a motion is passed.”
The undertaking received Rs 11 crore after selling 200 old buses. Sunil Ganacharya, a BJP committee member from the BEST, said: “The amount received from auctioning buses must be given to the retired employees of the BEST as gratuity.” At least 2,500 employees are yet to receive gratuity amount worth Rs 200 crore.