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PTI Mumbai
Updated: 13-01-2019 22:46 IST

While the strike at the city bus

service BEST entered the sixth day Sunday, Shiv Sena chief

Uddhav Thackeray said his party will fulfil its promise to

merge the budget of the transport undertaking with that of the

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The Sena controls the BMC apart from being a partner

in the BJP-led Maharashtra government.

One of the demands of the BEST workers who are on

strike since Tuesday 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," Thackeray said.

He also said with the BEST facing financial troubles,

unreasonable demands would create more problems.

A Sena-affiliated union had withdrawn from the strike

on the second day and its leaders had claimed a minimum of 500

buses will start plying on the roads from the next day.

But the claim fell flat on its face as barely any bus

has run on Mumbai's streets in the last seven days.

Talking about BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta hinting at

privatisation as an option, Thackeray said it could not be the

final solution.

"We will not let the ownership slip away from us

(BMC). There could be privatisation of few buses but no final

decision has been taken yet," he said.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led

by Uddhav's estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, threatened to hit

the streets on Monday if the state government, BMC

administration and the ruling parties failed to find a

solution and end the strike.

"We support the strike and the BEST employees. Their

demands are just. If those demands are not met, the MNS will

launch a protest," said MNS leader Sandip Deshpande.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)