Mumbai BEST bus strike continues for fourth consecutive day; employees say services will remain suspended till demands are met

Mumbai: Lakhs of commuters in Mumbai continued to suffer as an indefinite strike called by employees of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) continued for the fourth consecutive day on Friday.

At least 32,000 employees of Mumbai's civic transport have been demanding for a long time that the BEST budget be merged with with the 'A' budget of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). They are also seeking a resolution of the issue of employee service residences and recruitment, including higher salaries.

Parked BEST buses in Mumbai. PTI

Parked BEST buses in Mumbai. PTI

When talks with the authorities failed, the employees resorted to the strike.

BEST, considered as the lifeline of Mumbai, has a fleet size of as many as 3,200 buses. It the second largest transport system in the metropolis after local trains which ferry more than 70 lakh commuters on a daily basis.

On Thursday, commuters had complained that auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers were charging much more than normal rates in the absence of the buses. Some harried commuters also appealed to the Maharashtra government to take necessary steps to end the protest.

Despite the Shiv Sena-affiliated union, BEST Kamgar Sena, withdrawing from the protest, only 11 buses plied on the roads on Wednesday, an official said.

 Ashish Chemburkar, the chairman of the BEST committee that handles the day-to-day affairs of the undertaking, had said they were going to hold meetings with representatives of the protesting staffers on Thursday, but the meeting did not arrive at a favourable conclusion.

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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2019 11:54:23 IST

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