BEST PRAC­TICE

India Today - - STATES - —Ki­ran D. Tare

HOW IT ALL BE­GAN

Es­tab­lished in 1905, BEST (then Bom­bay Elec­tric­ity Sup­ply and Tramways, to­day Bri­han­mum­bai Elec­tric­ity Sup­ply and Trans­port) ran its first bus ser­vice in 1926. Ser­vices were ini­tially lim­ited to south Mumbai, but ex­panded in 1934. So great was the de­mand that BEST launched a dou­ble-decker bus ser­vice soon af­ter. It also be­gan pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity in 1905 and be­came a pub­lic sup­plier in 1921. It con­tin­ued till 1926, when the Tata Elec­tric Com­pany be­gan sup­ply­ing it. The Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion took over BEST in 1947.

AL­WAYS ON­LINE

As BEST’s power is lo­cally sourced, Mumbai re­mains on­line even if the na­tional grid fails. BEST has also played a vi­tal role in pro­vid­ing trans­port dur­ing emer­gen­cies. Its ser­vice re­mains op­er­a­tional even when the city is flooded by the mon­soons. Its buses have also re­duced the bur­den on the city’s lo­cal rail­way.

CRIT­I­CAL PRESENT

With a debt of Rs 1,175 crore, BEST is in the throes of a fi­nan­cial cri­sis. Its 42,000 em­ploy­ees are up­set with its fail­ure to re­lease salaries on time. Com­mit­tee chair­man Anil Kokil says deal­ing with the deficit is his top pri­or­ity. “I have also taken up the issue of de­layed salaries se­ri­ously. We are work­ing to find a so­lu­tion,” he says.

MANDAR DEODHAR

BEST OF TIMES BEST plies both dou­ble and single decker busses

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