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Bombay Electric Supply and Tramways Company

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Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company Limited (BEST) was a sole provider of electric supply, electric tram service and buses in the Mumbai city from 1905 to till 1947 when it was municipalised to form the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking. This Company was originally established in England, as a subsidiary of the British Electric Traction Company, which had been trying since 1903 to bring electricity to Mumbai.

The Bombay Electric Supply and Tramways Company was established in London under the English Companies Act, and on 22 July 1905, it was registered in Mumbai under the Indian Companies Act of 1882. It officially came into existence when it got The Bombay Electric License on 31 July 1905 signed by Bombay Tramways Company, the Bombay Municipality, the Brush Electrical Company and the B.E.S.T. Company.The B.E.S.T. Company was granted the monopoly for electric supply and the running of an electric tram service in the city.

The B.E.S.T. Company bought the assets of the Bombay Tramway Company for Rs.98,50,000. Two years later, the first electric tram debuted in the city. Later that year, a 4,300 kilowatts (5,800 hp) steam power generator was commissioned at Wari Bunder. In 1916, power purchase from Tata Power, a privately owned company, was started and by 1925, all power generation was outsourced from Tata. In 1923 The Company installed 36 electric lamps at 47 street junctions.

The B.E.S.T. Company had been established in England. Its registered office was in London and its Board of Management met there. As a result, the Company had to pay income-tax to the British Exchequer on the profits it earned in India, and as it was registered in Mumbai it had to pay a similar tax in this country too. On 9 June 1920, shareholders meet in London and passed a resolution to wind up its affairs in London. Their resolution was approved by shareholders in Mumbai met on 30 June 1920. The entire management of the Company was now to be handled from Mumbai. The Company’s capital in pound sterling was converted into its corresponding/value in rupees.

On 10 February 1926 the B.E.S.& T Company introduced bus services on three routes on experimental basis with 24 Single Deck Bus. By 1927 B.E.S.T. Company had a fleet of 49 buses.

On 7 August 1947, the Municipal Corporation took over the B.E.S.&T. Company Ltd and it was Municipalised to form the Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking which was again renamed to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (B.E.S.&T Undertaking) in 1995.

References

Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways Company Wikipedia


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