Free Press Journal: Mumbai: Sunday, April 16, 2017.
BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking is in a total mess. Losses have mounted to Rs 1,000 crore. The situation is so grave that the undertaking is thinking of taking loans to pay salaries. This month itself, nearly 44,000 employees are yet to receive their pay. The details were requested by Right to Information Act (RTI) worker, Anil Galgali. He inquired about the deposits and investments made by BEST. It was revealed the undertaking has only Rs 57 crore in investments.
The reply to Galgali’s RTI application said a large percentage of the said amount is invested in Electric Supply Contingency Reserve Fund also known as ECRF. The BEST has also invested in Generation of Electricity Fund (GEF). The net amount invested with both these funds is Rs 44.19 crore. A majority of the other state players such as Andhra Pradesh Power Finance Corporation Limited, Tamil Nadu Power Finance And Infrastructure Development Corporation, UP Corporation Spinning Mills and Rajasthan as well as Haryana have invested in these bonds.
BEST has invested Rs 11.25 crore in yearly fixed deposits with Central Bank of India at the Peddar Road branch for BEST Staff Benefit Fund. The undertaking earns an interest of 7% on this. BEST has also invested Rs 1.35 crore at the same bank for employees’ benefit fund and earn an interest of 7.40%. There is Rs 39.28 core investment with Canara Bank for BEST Employees’ Welfare Fund. On this amount they earn an interest of 7.55%. The auditor has also replied that there is not much liquidity with BEST undertaking; it is likely to face a cash crunch any time. Its Canara Bank account is being run on overdraft.