Commitee members of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) undertaking on Thursday deferred a decision on a proposal to hike bus tariff in the city,saying they need more time to study the proposal.
On the proposal to increase power tariff for the island city,Shiv Senas Sunil Shinde,chairman of the outgoing BEST committee,said the final decision would be taken by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).
We will have a discussion on the plan to increase electricity tariff,but we can only convey our suggestions to the MERC. Ultimately,it is their decision, Shinde said.
The issue of bus tariffs is in our hands and we will discuss it,but we need more time to study the need for a fare hike in detail and look at alternative sources of generating revenue without burdening the consumer, he added.
Alternative sources of revenue could include more commercialisation of BEST property and increasing advertising income,Shinde said. The BEST has already opened up its property,such as depots,fleet and bus stops,for advertising and construction of CNG filling stations.
However,sources said a decision on the tariff hike proposal is unlikely to be taken in the next two months and could be postponed till the new committee members take charge.
To cut its losses,the BEST had proposed increasing bus fares from April this year. The utility has suggested hiking the minimum bus fare for two km by a rupee to Rs 5. The BEST has proposed a cumulative hike for every fare slab thereafter. For instance,the existing fare of Rs 5 for three km would be increased to Rs 7,the fare for five km would be raised from Rs 7 to Rs 10 and so on.
Similarly,BEST has proposed to increase power charges by over 30 per cent. If the proposal goes through,residential tariff for the first hundred units will rise by 36 per cent to Rs 2.47 a unit,rate for the next slab,from 101 to 300 units,will rise by 41 per cent and consumers will have to pay Rs 10.60,or 34 per cent more,for more than 500 units consumed.