Mumbai BEST strike to continue
as meet fails to break deadlock



Mumbai, Jan 12 :  The ongoing BEST bus strike in Mumbai is set to continue as a meeting chaired by Maharashtra chief secretary Saturday between striking unions and the management of the civic-run transport undertaking failed to break the impasse.

The meeting was held after the Bombay High Court Friday directed the union leaders to talk with a state government committee, comprising Maharashtra chief secretary DK Jain, BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, secretaries of the transport and urban development departments and BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde, to find a way to end the strike.

Over 32000 employees of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) are on strike since Tuesday and its fleet of 3200-odd buses are off the metropolis' roads, causing severe inconvenience to several lakh commuters.

Shashank Rao, president of the striking BEST Workers' Union Saturday said the committee heard out to their demands but did not give any response.

"We put our stand before them and very clearly stated that we will not withdraw the strike until our demands are accepted," Rao told reporters, adding that the stir would proceed peacefully.

When contacted, state chief secretary DK Jain told PTI that the committee has listened to the unions' grievances and a report would be submitted to the Bombay High Court on Monday.

"Before the report is submitted in the court, I cannot reveal the minutes of the meeting," he informed.

An official, meanwhile, said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had once again made it clear that it is not in favour of merging the BMC's and the loss-making transport undertaking's budgets, as demanded by the union.


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