AMAB starts sig­na­ture cam­paign

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI - STAFF RE­PORTER

In yet an­other in­stance the Aam­chi Mum­bai Aam­chi BEST (AMAB) have started sig­na­ture cam­paign by re­quest­ing cit­i­zens to sign a pe­ti­tion against the Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) and the Bri­han­mum­bai Elec­tric Sup­ply and Trans­port (BEST) un­der­tak­ing for the stir.

For this cit­i­zens’ group, who is sup­port­ing the BEST em­ploy­ees on-go­ing strike, wants more peo­ple to join its cause. “We are col­lect­ing sig­na­tures from as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. We will put up mea­sures which we feel the BEST should take and then sub­mit it to the state gov­ern­ment,” said Vidyad­har Date, who spear­heads this cit­i­zen move­ment.

He fur­ther al­leged BMC and BEST had failed to in­vest in the city's pub­lic trans­port mech­a­nism and had been en­cour­ag­ing an en­er­gyguz­zling car-cen­tric sys­tem for the me­trop­o­lis.

“These moves had led to de­bil­i­tat­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion, wors­en­ing air pol­lu­tion and life-risk­ing over­crowd­ing on the sub­ur­ban rail net­work,” said Datte.

The BMC has been fo­cused on the coastal road in­stead of bus pri­or­ity lanes, pri­vate con­trac­tors in­stead of com­muters, BEST’s so-called “in­ef­fi­cien­cies” in­stead of the city's wors­en­ing pol­lu­tion and con­ges­tion, and con­ve­nience of pri­vate mo­torists in­stead of safe, af­ford­able and sus­tain­able pub­lic trans­port.

“They are push­ing for projects like the Coastal Road and Ban­dra-Versova sea link, which is meant for pri­vate ve­hi­cles. This will cause a fur­ther de­cline in BEST rid­er­ship,” said trans­port ex­pert Sand­hya Gokhale, who is part of Aam­chi Mum­bai, Aam­chi BEST. Datte also al­leged the BEST man­age­ment looked at its bus ser­vice as an es­sen­tial one un­der the

Es­sen­tial Ser­vices Main­te­nance Act only when it came to strikes, but on other oc­ca­sions, like when it wanted to re­duce fleet size, man­power, routes and in­crease pri­vati­sa­tion, it saw the sys­tem as a “non es­sen­tial” one.

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