When residents of Emca Sadan in Prabhadevi repeatedly tried calling the BEST helpline for electrical faults on Sunday morning to report small blasts in the electric panels in their society owing to a short circuit, their calls went unanswered.
Even BMC’s disaster control helpline, fire brigade’s Worli office and the fire brigade helpline didn’t respond either.
This isn’t a one-off case as many citizens have similar grouse about the BEST helpline, which is supposed to work 24X7. Even sources from the fire brigade have informed Mumbai Mirror that “BEST doesn’t answer to electrical fault calls”. A source also said: “Citizens are left with no option but to call the fire brigade helpline. This puts extra pressure on our system.”
BEST PRO Hanumant Gophanesaid: “Each fault control office has three to four lines. There are a total of nine customer care ward offices and 9 fault controls. In addition to these, there are two supervisory control offices to deal with complaints.”
The electric service provider has 10 lakh customers in the island city.
In a series of tweets journalist Sucheta Dalal pointed out on Sunday morning that residents of Emca Sadan tried contacting at least five different numbers – BEST, BMC’s disaster control helpline, fire brigade’s Worli office and the fire brigade helpline. “So we have managed to help ourselves temporarily by risking and figuring out which phases to switch off!!” Dalal had tweeted.
Tagging both BMC and its G south ward, Dalal tweeted, “Need to report electric short circuit blasts. All BEST fault reporting numbers not being picked up. Please help. Leningrad chowk 400025. This is such a comedy of errors. Here is a report. Called 1916 – they gave me a number. Next called FIRE BRIGADE after getting the Worli Fire brigade number. A lady called Ms Adav answered 022-24300178 Arrogant, clueless. Tells me to call 101 even after I insist I have made effort to track the correct fire brigade! Took my address but refused to call back. Then called 101 — got the number quickly!! Terrific. Struggled to get operators to understand address! But that done. Gave a number. Haven’t got a call back… will update. This thread is to give @mybmc an idea of what happens when one tries to report an issue in time.”
A few days back Matunga residents too tried to reach out to BEST electrical fault helpline. “We were without electricity on KA Subramaniam Road since 5 pm. We tried calling the BEST helpline but nobody answered,” said Baktesh Kamath. Animesh Mathur from Antop Hill, Wadala, Mark Gomes, Anand Malepu from Matunga and several others have been tweeting and posting on social media about BEST’s electrical helpline issues.
Dr Surendrakumar Bagde, General Manager of BEST, refuted these charges. “This is untrue. We do answer all calls and we attend most of them,” he said.
Mumbai fire brigade chief PS Rahangadale assured that he will investigate why the complaints from the Prabhadevi housing society were not verified.
IN DEEP WATER People wade through a flooded LBS Marg road in Kurla’s Kamani area on Sunday afternoon —PIC: RAJU SHINDE