There seems to be no end to the strike of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) as the same entered the seventh day on Monday. The strike continued on Monday despite Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray assuring that the budget of the transport undertaking would be merged with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corportation (BMC).
One of the demands of the BEST workers who are on strike since last week is merger of the budgets of the BMC and the loss-making BEST. The Sena had promised merger of the budgets during the civic poll campaign in 2017.
“The financial condition of the BEST has deteriorated. I had given the promise of merger of the budgets and that will be fulfilled. A solution can be found only through the talks. Even though the BEST strike issue is in the court, I am ready to be part of the discussion if necessary,” news agency PTI quoted Thackeray as saying.
Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has threatened to join the protest if the government and BMC administration fail to resolve the strike by Monday.
“We support the strike and the BEST employees. Their demands are just. If those demands are not met, the MNS will launch a protest,” MNS leader Sandip Deshpande told PTI.
A meeting was held on Saturday between the striking employees and BEST management, but it failed to yield any result.
The meeting chaired by Maharashtra chief secretary DK Jain was held after the Bombay High Court on Friday directed the union leaders to talk with a state government committee. The meeting had BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, secretaries of the transport and urban development departments and BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde in attendance to find a way to end the strike.
Over 32000 employees of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) are on strike since Tuesday and its fleet of 3200-odd buses are off the metropolis' roads, causing severe inconvenience to several lakh commuters.