BEST officials say that Rs 1.25 crore in Rs 10 coins were paid to around 25,178 employees in April.
Mumbai: Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus conductors, who tend to harangue commuters for small change, received a shock on their payday this month when Rs 500 of their salary was paid to them in Rs 10 coins. BEST general manager Jagdish Patil has claimed that the undertaking, after demonetisation, had accumulated Rs 1.30 crore in change, which banks refused to accept.
According to officials, about Rs 1.25 crore in Rs 10 coins were paid to 25,178 transport department employees, including conductors and drivers. The BEST employees were asked to pick up the Rs 500 in change from the undertaking’s headquarters in Colaba.
The basic salary of a conductor and a driver is around Rs 16,000 while the take-away salary comes to around Rs 13,000 to Rs 13,500. Stating that letting the money lie unused in the undertaking’s vault did not make any sense, Mr Patil said, “Given our financial situation, it would be a criminal waste of resources if we held back this money because the banks were not accepting it.”
He added, “We have done this earlier when we had asked the public to come and collect change from certain centres. So this is not completely new.” The cash-strapped BEST has been taking loans of Rs 100 crore to pay the salaries of its 42,000 employees since March.
BEST union leader Udai Ambolkar claimed that the move was unfair that only the conductors and the drivers were asked to go and collect Rs 500 in change, he said, “All the officers should have also been asked to collect Rs 500 from the headquarters. Only conductors and drivers were told to so and this is unfair.”