THE Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has demanded Rs 1,000 crore from its parent body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to sustain operations. In a meeting held between both parties Tuesday, the utility renewed its demand for financial aid.
Around two weeks ago, BMC had asked the undertaking to work on reducing operational expenses and introduce cost-cutting measures before receiving grants. After that, the utility had moved a proposal to further curtail medical and other financial incentives to its employees.
On Tuesday, BEST Chairman Anil Kokil met Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar to discuss grants. “We asked for Rs 1,000 crore grant from the corporation to sustain operations of the undertaking. While we face losses amounting to more than Rs 2,500 crore, a grant could help us conduct operations smoothly,” Kokil said.
At the meeting, the utility’s struggle to pay its employees because of financial crunch was also discussed. While the utility had paid only half of the salaries last month, it paid the other half after facing flak from the unions.
“To improve the financial capacity of the undertaking, it requires financial assistance of Rs 2,500 crore. We think at least Rs 1,000 crore should be given to BEST,” said Yashwant Jadhav, senior Sena corporator and House leader at the BMC.
Kokil also requested the corporation to waive the remaining installments of its Rs 1,600 crore loan. While payment of Rs 1,000 crore has been made, it has asked the corporation to refrain from demanding the remaining sum.
“The utility is undergoing a serious financial crunch, and waiving installments could better our position. We have also asked them to consider merging our financial budget with theirs from next year,” Kokil added.
Mahadeshwar told The Indian Express: “We have called another meeting in 15 days to resolve the issues pertaining to financial losses. We have asked the administration to come up with reasons for the losses and how they plan to improve it (the situation).”