Mumbai: The Mumbaikars have to suffer on the third consecutive day due to the BEST bus strike even after the series of meetings between the BEST officials, State government officials, union leaders and Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Not a single bus of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) plied on Mumbai roads since last three days.
Nearly 32,000 BEST employees are on an indefinite strike since Tuesday over various demands, including higher salaries and merger of the budget of the loss-making undertaking with the budget of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The State government intercepted in the strike and called General Manager of BEST Dr Surendra Kumar Bagade for meeting in the morning. But nothing concrete came out in the meeting. On the other hand, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting of the BEST officials along with BEST committee members and Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar at the Mayor’s Bungalow.
Earlier the government had invoked the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) against the striking BEST employees, while its management asked them to end the stir and come to the negotiating table.
The BEST administration had on Wednesday cracked the whip, issuing notices to over 2,000 staffers to vacate houses provided by the undertaking. It also held dialogues with BEST workers’ union leader Shashank Rao, but it did not yield a positive outcome.
Despite the Shiv Sena-affiliated union, BEST Kamgar Sena, withdrawing from the protest there is no sign of the end of the deadlock.
Ashish Chemburkar, Chairman of the BEST Committee said that the BEST Committee and the Mumbaikars want to end the strike as they are suffering a lot.
Commuters complained that auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers were charging much more than the normal rates. Some harried commuters also appealed to the Maharashtra government to take necessary steps to end the protest.
Passengers continued to face inconvenience and some complained that auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers were trying to fleece them.
The BEST has a fleet of over 3,200 buses, which ply in the city and neighbouring Thane city and Navi Mumbai that ferry over 80 lakh passengers every day.