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Not the best of times for BEST as April salary delayed

Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 6:40am IST | Agency: dna

The loss-ridden Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) had a tough time paying its April salary (paid in May). And the management is now trying its best to ensure that the situation doesn't recur next month. However, there is every possibility of the undertaking being financially in a worse situation when it's time to pay the May salary.

Initially, BEST administration used to credit salaries on either 3rd or 4th of every month. The date was later revised to 7th or 8th. But the April salaries were paid only on May 20.

"The banks informed us that the strike had adversely impacted the undertaking and delayed giving loan to pay salaries, and that caused the delay in paying salaries to the staff," said a senior BEST official. Around Rs 83 crore is spent every month on salaries.

At BEST standing committee meeting, Sunil Ghanacharya, member of the committee said: "In June, BEST is likely to face a shortfall of Rs 602.93 crore; next month will be even worse."

As per the data shared by BEST, the shortfalls in July and August will be Rs 110.41 crore and Rs 92.98, crore, respectively. Trade unions were informed about the delay in payments this month, but committee members were kept in the dark.

At the moment, BEST's debt is around Rs 3,102 crore, which includes a loan of Rs 1,600 crore from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

On Wednesday, the industrial court passed an order in favour of BEST Jagrut Kamgar Sanghatana, which read: "The respondent, BEST undertaking, is directed to stop the unfair labour practice against the complainant employees." Henceforth, it has to pay salaries on or before the 10th of each month.

General Manager Om Prakash Gupta said: "This month there was an issue of cash flow, from next month onwards that will not recur."

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