BEST worst hit by political protests
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1,231 of 4,600 buses damaged since 2008, causing a loss of Rs 23.4 lakh
Public transport has suffered the most during political protests in the last few years, statistics obtained from Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) reveal.
More than a fourth of the BEST fleet has been damaged during demonstrations by supporters of parties such as Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party.
Since 2008, 1,231 of the 4,600 BEST buses have been torched or stoned in 17 protests, eight of which were organised by supporters of political parties, causing a loss of Rs 23.4 lakh.
"We have to write to Mumbai Police and the money is recovered through the (district) collector. We have written to the collector claiming damages for the last two-three incidents but haven't received anything yet," a BEST official said.
Such violent protests also affect commuters as damaged buses are taken off roads for a few days for repairs.
"Whenever a protest or bandh is called, no political party actually orders supporters to damage buses. However, the mentality is to damage buses to get media attention. More often than not, those who do not get mass public support to protests resort to such tactics," said MNS member Kedar Hombalkar, who is also on the BEST committee.
He said parties should arrive at a consensus that organisations such as BEST should not be targeted during protests and the state government should ensure additional protection to the utility in sensitive situations.
BUSES BEAR THE BRUNT
August 11, 2012: 50 BEST buses were damaged, causing a loss of
Rs 4,05,964 when a rally called by the Raza Academy at Azad Maidan turned into a riot
May 31, 2012: During a Bharat Bandh called by the NDA and Left parties against the petrol price hike 156 BEST buses were damaged, causing a loss of Rs 2,97,499
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