Mumbai: With the BEST strike continuing on Thursday, the Central Railway is running extra sub-services, reported ANI. Over 25 lakh commuters have been inconvenienced while the strike is causing a revenue loss of Rs 10 crore. It could now be the longest BEST strike in Mumbai, say reports, as the last one had ended in three days’ time.
Meanwhile, following are the details of extra trains: On the main line, Thane departure 1.44 PM and CSMT arrival 2.40 PM and CSMT departure 2.49 PM and Kalyan arrival 4.15 PM.
On Harbour line, Vashi departure 1.44 PM and CSMT arrival 2.32 PM and CSMT departure 2.45 PM and Panvel arrival 4.05 PM.
Reports said the Shiv Sena union faced flak for failing to ply 500 buses that it had promised. It had withdrawn its support to the strike. The Sena union’s announcement to withdraw from the protest invited sharp criticism from BEST Workers’ Union chief Shashank Rao who said the former had shown its “true character”.
A leading daily reported that BEST could operate only 11 buses with police protection, and just 19 drivers and 14 conductors reported for duty. It has a fleet of over 3,200 buses and also operates in the neighbouring Thane district and Navi Mumbai.
BEST is the second-biggest mode of transport in Mumbai after local trains, which ferry over 80 lakh passengers every day.
It has nowslapped notices under MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act) on 300 employees. Also, 2,000 workers have been served notices to vacate BEST
quarters if they do not report for work.
Reports suggested that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray might intervene. Earlier also, in 2017, Thackeray had managed to pursuade the biggest union to withdraw its agitation within 11 hours.
BEST employees are demanding higher pay, merging budget of the loss-making transport undertaking with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), deliberations on new wage agreement, resuming appointments on compassionate grounds and a bonus equivalent to that of the civic body’s employees.