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Commuters Hit as BEST Strike Enters Day 4, HC Directs State & BEST Admin to Act

Meetings between Shiv Sena chief Uddhay Thackeray, BMC comissioner Ajoy Mehta, BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde and BEST union leaders failed as there was no breakthrough in the ongoing strike.

Chaitanya Mangure | CNN-News18

Updated:January 11, 2019, 7:51 PM IST
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Commuters Hit as BEST Strike Enters Day 4, HC Directs State & BEST Admin to Act
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Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus strike in Mumbai entered on its fourth day today, causing inconvenience to lakhs of Mumbaikars who depend on the buses for daily commutation.

Meetings between Shiv Sena chief Uddhay Thackeray, BMC comissioner Ajoy Mehta, BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde and BEST union leaders failed as there was no breakthrough in the ongoing strike.

With 32,000 odd BEST buses being off road, central railway and western railway operated additional trains. The MSRTC also operated 20 buses on major routes.

The Bombay High Court, which heard the PIL on the BEST strike has directed the state government and the BEST administration to come up with measures to end the strike as it is causing inconvenience to common people.

The state government informed the Bombay HC that a three-member committee consisting the chief secretary, transport secretary and urban development secretary has been formed to come up with a plan on the issues raised by BEST workers.

The HC also observed that the union should not have gone for a strike, but should have moved court as BEST is serving people. The Bombay HC also directed the state government, BEST administration and BEST union to convene a meeting on Saturday and come up with a solution, failing to which the court will hear the matter on January 14.

Speaking to reporters, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said “We are trying to find a solution as it is causing inconvenience to people. I have also spoken to Uddhav Thackeray on this subject and all of us want to solve this issue. The BEST and the BMC are considering demands of the BEST employees. While they are ready to accept some demands, they are also refusing some demands. This problem can be solved only through discussion. We have held a discussion and will try to come up with a solution by today or tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS), that has declared support to the BEST strike also held a meeting on Friday following which a group of MNS members stopped the work of Kanakia Developers at Mahim. MNS alleged that the developer is yet to pay Rs 320 crore redevelopment rights fee to BEST after it acquired its bus depot for constructing a high-rise.

The state government has already invoked the stringent Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) against 11 union leaders of BEST that called for strike. However, the move has not been able to force workers to call off their strike.

All eyes are now on the scheduled meeting of the high power committee and BEST union that will be held on Saturday at the state secretariat at 11am.

| Edited by: Debdeep Mukherjee
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