Mumbaikars may have to face huge inconvenience on the occasion of Rakhsha Bandhan on Monday due to the strike called by BEST workers union. Many of them are planning to visit their friends and relatives may have to rely on alternative forms of transport like autorickshaws, taxis and local trains. The talks held by Mumbai mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar with BEST workers union failed to yield any results as union has taken a decision to go ahead with the strike. Mahadeshwar had claimed to have resolved the grievances of BEST workers union pertaining to wage settlement, paying salaries to employees on 10th of every month.
He even had mentioned about addressing various other demands of employees but they remained firm on their stand to go ahead with the strike after they failed to get a written communication from the management. Mahadeshwar has already urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to intervene in this matter. The meeting called by him was supposed to address the grievances of BEST union workers but no major headway was made. Thus Mumbaikars will have to suffer severe hardships if they are planning to go to office or meet relatives on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
Ashok Desle a Borivali resident said, “I was planning to meet my relatives on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. Now I will have to hire autorickshaws to reach my destination. I am worried that autorickshaw drivers may hike fares to take advantage of the strike,”
Supreet Shah an accountant working with a garment firm in Kandivali (W) said, “I often rely on BEST buses to go to office. I am worried that I will find it difficult to hire taxis and autorickshaws as many others might board them. I may have to wait for a long period of time to reach my office.”
Pravin Ahire a marketing executive employed with a private firm in Andheri said, “BEST had planned to run 212 additional buses on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. Now due to the strike there is no possibility of deploying additional vehicles. So I might have to face hardships to reach my office due to the strike.”
The BMC had failed to bail out the loss making BEST by refusing to offer Rs 150 crore subsidy to the undertaking. The various demands made by BEST workers union include releasing salary of employees on the 2nd day of every month, waive off various taxes levied on BEST by the civic body and BMC take over the responsibility of running of BEST buses in the city. It has also opposed wet leasing of buses and trimming of staff/cutting salaries to curtail losses.