Mumbai civic body budget: INR 928 crore provision for BEST

Source : PTI | A provision of INR 928 crore has been made for the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) in the Mumbai civic body’s budget for FY 2024-25. BEST runs a public bus service in Mumbai and neighbouring areas, and supplies power to the island city of the metropolis.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in its budget presented on Friday allocated INR 800 crore as a grant to BEST to meet infrastructure development besides INR 128 crore for procuring electric buses. INR 800 crore can be used for capital equipment, repayment of loans, renting new buses on a wet lease basis, pay revision, day-to-day expenses, the ITMS project, Diwali bonus to employees, gratuities and other employee dues, and electricity dues among others.

“BEST has planned to procure and deploy 2,000 electric buses for Mumbai City. The cost of this project is INR 2,573 crore. For the viability gap, the World Bank will fund 70% of the amount (INR 1,801 crore) in the form of a soft loan, while the Maharashtra government will make available its 25% share ( INR 643.35 crore) and BMC will take responsibility for the 5%share (INR 128.65 crore) as an additional grant to BEST Undertaking,” the budget document said.

In a press conference after the budget presentation, municipal commissioner and administration Iqbal Singh Chahal said BEST currently has around 3,000 buses in its fleet and has placed orders for about 2,800 electric buses.

It will start getting these buses from April 1, 2024, onwards, and the fleet size of the transport body will increase to 5,800 before March 31, 2025.

“Our target is (to get) 5,800 buses by March 2025 and 8,000 buses by March 2026. All of them will be electric,” Chahal said. Currently, BEST has around 3,000 buses, including over 400 electric buses that ferry more than 30 lakh passengers daily.