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Mumbai: BEST staff hold protest march against management plans


Mumbai: BEST staff hold protest march against management plans

Several hundred employees of the BMC-run Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking on Monday held a march in Dadar to protest against management apathy and its privatization moves. BEST runs buses, with a daily ridership of 30 lakh, in the metropolis and also supplies power to homes in the island city.

The 'long march' was organized by the BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti, a joint action committee of unions in the undertaking, along with citizens' group 'Amchi Mumbai Amchi BEST'. The action committee has sought the merger of the BEST and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation budgets and demanded that the BEST management review its decisions of reducing staff, hiring private buses and plying conductor-less buses.

This is the first major agitation by BEST staff after the decision in July last year to reduce minimum fares for ordinary and non-AC buses to Rs 5 and Rs 6 respectively, and pegging maximum fares at Rs 20 and Rs 25 for the two classes.

BEST Workers Union chief Shashank Rao said, "The BEST management has issued an advertisement for hiring 400 conductors on a contract basis. We have decided not to let a single worker step inside depots. We will also meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss our demands."

BJP MLA Nitesh Rane, who took part in the protest march, hit out at CM Thackeray alleging he had time to think about the "nightlife of Mumbai but not the plight of BEST workers".

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

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