| BEST hits road to find better fiscal
Orders Study On Revamping Transport Division
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking
has awarded a Rs 1.98 crore contract to Tata Consultancy Services
(TCS) for a study on how to restructure its transport division. The
study will be completed within 52 weeks.
TCS will carry out a diagnostic study of what ails the transport division
and identify its core business systems to enhance performance by making
changes. The report will also review how effective the current financial
mechanisms are for sustained growth of the BEST and review inter-linkages
needed for sustained growth of the transport division.
The World Bank had insisted that the BEST restructure its loss-making
transport division before disbursing a loan of Rs 103 crore, which
is being used to buy 644 single-decker buses. The last study had been
held in 1962 by Justice H R Gokhale when labour conditions were different.
TCS was shortlisted among six consultants after the BEST invited bids
for the second time as none of the bidders (including TCS) fulfilled
the eligibility criterion during the first bid. TCS will identify
strengths and weaknesses within the transport division and recommend
steps to revamp it.
TCS will use eight key personnel such as institutional development
specialist, legal specialist, HRD specialist, mechanical engineer,
transport planner, information systems specialist, system analyst
and financial specialist for this study.
The BEST is the second-largest industrial unit in the city, employing
over 37,000 workers in its transport division which collects Rs 721.95
crore from 45,00,000 commuters who use buses every day. It spends
Rs 512 crore as establishment costs which comes to nearly 71% of its
earnings every year. As these costs are rising, the World Bank insisted
on reducing these costs by reducing surplus workers.
The BEST forms a part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project which
is being financed by the World Bank loan. Out of 34 consultants who
showed interest in doing the restructuring after the first bids were
invited in 2003, five were shortlisted.
But technical and financial bids were sent only by three consultants
and none of them were found to fulfill minimum standards. So, the
BEST raised the budget for this study to Rs 2 crore from Rs 1.23 crore
and reinvited bids on April 5, 2004. Out of 19 consultants, six were
shortlisted. TCS was found to have met the requirements for the study.
When the matter came up for discussion on Friday, Congress corporator
Ravi Raja said after the study is completed by TCS, the report should
be submitted to the BEST committee for its approval and any changes
sought to be made by the committee which is the supreme authority
in the BEST, should be implemented in the report.
General manager Swadheen Kshatriya said the report would be placed
before the committee for its approval.