Members of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) committee demanded a structural audit of the buildings in all of its staff colonies across the city. The committee members slammed BEST administration for delaying the maintenance of the buildings in its staff colonies, even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) — the parent body of the undertaking — had allotted Rs10 crore for the work. Anil Patankar, BEST panel chairman, has asked the administration to call for a special meeting on the issue.
The committee is also investigating the possibility of redeveloping these buildings if the maintenance cost is found to be higher. BEST committee members raised this demand while discussing a proposal regarding the maintenance of the buildings in its staff colony in Parel, which has 15 buildings, with nearly 1,100 houses, that were built-in 1956. The buildings are presently in a rundown condition.
Sunil Ganacharya, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member on the committee, said, “It is a huge loss, which comes to around Rs 11 crore per month in tickets and season pass sales, as compared to the previous financial year.” He blamed the BEST administration for spending only Rs 1 crore of the Rs 4.74 crore collected in rent from BEST colonies, on maintaining the buildings. Ganacharya said that the buildings have outlived their codal life (duration for which an object can be used optimally) and require heavy maintenance repeatedly. Therefore, he suggested that the BEST administration should explore the possibility of redeveloping these colonies. Meanwhile, the latest report of BEST revealed that the undertaking incurred losses to the tune of Rs 132 crore, for which BEST panel members blamed faulty electronic ticketing machines.
The BEST administration, in its reply, informed that they have already conducted the structural audit of all the 330-335 houses in their colonies and depots. “Based on the structural audit report, we have already planned essential preventive works,” said a senior BEST official.
Anil Kolil, Shiv Sena member on BEST committee, demanded a proper structural audit of BEST colonies at various locations by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) or Veer Jijamata Technical Institute (VJTI), considering these institutes audited the Himalaya Bridge at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, which collapsed last year. In the meeting, the BEST committee also gave approval for increasing the budget for Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Mahaparinirvan Divas function to Rs13 lakh from Rs10 lakh.
When Afternoon Voice contacted Ravi Raja Congress leader of opposition in BMC about the structural audit of Best staff quarters he said, “This topic has been going on from 2-3 days because the capital expenditure of 10 crores has been given by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). However, we asked them for more money, as more expenditure will be incurred on audit. And already some work has been passed by the committee and the work will be starting soon.”