MNS activists protest, BEST employees' strike continues
Activists of the MNS Monday disrupted ongoing works for the Coastal Road and Metro 3 projects here to express solidarity with striking workers of BEST, the civic transport undertaking that operates one of the country's largest fleet of buses in Mumbai. Over 32,000 employees of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) are on strike since Tuesday last week for various demands including pay revision, as a result of which 3200-odd buses in its fleet are off the roads in the megapolis.
A group of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers briefly stopped the Coastal Road project work in Worli this morning, while a similar a protest stalled the Metro-III work in the Aarey Colony near suburban Goregaon for the entire day. Metro 3, also referred to as the ColabaBandra-SEEPZ line, is a part of the metro system that will connect Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in the north-central Mumbai. The Coastal Road is an under-construction 29.2-km long freeway that would run along Mumbai's western coastline connecting Marine Lines in the south to Kandivli in the north.
Meanwhile, the Raj Thackeray-led party was left red-faced when some of its workers halted the buses run by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) near suburban Chembur in east Mumbai and forced passengers to get down. Navi Mumbai is the satellite township of Mumbai. NMMT buses connect Mumbai suburbs with neighbouring Navi Mumbai. Expressing regret over the incident, MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande attributed the incident to "over-enthusiasm" of some workers and said the party is against causing any inconvenience to the common man.
Meanwhile, the ongoing impasse between BEST unions and authorities continued on the seventh day of the strike, as the talks held between union leader Shashank Rao and authorities of the state government and BEST remained inconclusive. Striking workers have been demanding the merger of the budgets of the BEST and its parent body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as well as higher salaries among other issues. Lakhs of commuters who travel by BEST buses every day are facing hardships due to the strike.
(With inputs from agencies.)