Seventeen Buses of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) were damaged by protestors during the Bharat bandh observed in Mumbai on Monday. The undertaking did not ply hybrid electric buses fearing damage, officials said.
With the Congress and MNS giving a bandh call over rising fuel prices, commuters preferred to stay indoors.
In the morning, stones were pelted at buses near Pratiskha Nagar depot, Vashi Naka, Hindmata and Parel. BEST officials said glass window panes were broken and tyres deflated. No injury to any passenger or staff was reported.
“As many as 2,766 buses, out of our total fleet of 2,821, was in operation till 2 pm. As the intensity of the strike reduced by evening, we continued plying bus services smoothly,” a senior official said.
Congress leaders, including Maharashtra unit president Ashok Chavan and Mumbai party chief Sanjay Nirupam staged a rail roko at Andheri station, disrupting train services. Protestors also tried to stop train services at Chembur, Govandi, Ghatkopar and Bhandup stations but Government Railway Police (GRP) officers removed them from the tracks.
“We drove them out before they entered the tracks. The protest was not continuous in nature,” a senior GRP officer said.
After supporters of MNS blocked Metro services between Ghatkopar and Andheri, huge crowd was witnessed at these stations. A Mumbai Metro One Private Limited spokesperson said, “At 9.45 am, Metro services were disrupted for a short period on account of protests by parties. At 9.59 am, the protesters were removed by security personnel and the police… Normal services were restored at 10.01 am.” Many trains were delayed due to the protests.
Thin traffic was witnessed on roads as many commuters preferred to work from home. “As the situation was tense outside, we decided to work from home,” said Ganesh Kamare, who works in a bank.
On Sunday, many taxi and rickshaw unions had said that they would not support the strike. Taxi union leaders complained of facing losses. as they could not drive their cabs on Monday. Rajesh Ahire, who operates his taxis from CSMT at Nariman Point, said, “At lest 25 per cent of the bookings were cancelled due to the bandh. We have suffered great losses.”