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Mumbai's majority of mini buses, taken on lease from a private contractor by Mumbai's civic transport undertaking Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), remained off roads for the second consecutive day. This is due to a flash strike called by the contractor's staff over non-payment of salaries.

According to the BEST, it operates mini buses from Colaba, Wadala, Bandra, Kurla, and Vikhroli depots, and of these, the operations at Bandra, Vikhroli, and Kurla depots were badly affected.

BEST undertaking spokesperson Manoj Varade said the strike has affected the services in Bandra, Kurla, and Vikhroli depots. The civic transport body could not operate 308 bus services during the day, he said. However, the spokesperson added that they operated 113 extra buses to avoid inconvenience to commuters.

Since Tuesday morning, most drivers of MP Group, the contractor from whom BEST has taken buses on a lease, operating from the three depots (out of five) have stayed away from work to protest against the non-payment of salaries. Over 160 of 275 mini buses were off roads on the first day of the stir.

This is the second flash agitation by the contractor's drivers in less than a month, inconveniencing the scores of passengers. Earlier on April 22,  275 mini buses stayed off road owing to the flash strike of drivers over delayed salaries.

Meanwhile, a driver of MP Group said the operators from Wadala and Colaba depots did not participate in the strike, as their company has given a deadline of May 18 to disburse delayed salaries, failing which they will go on strike. The loss-making undertaking has hired private buses on wet lease, in which private operators provide drivers for buses and maintain the vehicles. The BEST provides a public bus service to Mumbai. It ferries over 30 lakh commuters with its fleet of around 3,500 buses, including those hired from private contractors.

(With PTI inputs)

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