2,800 umbrellas lost this monsoon on Mumbai BEST buses

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 21 Agustus 2014 | 22.23

Maximum City may well also be called Maximum Forgetful City, judging by the number of items that its denizens regularly forget on BEST buses. And in the monsoon season, this habit gets worse, with the most forgotten item being the umbrella — 2,800 of these have been left behind by commuters so far! Not just the brolly, wallets, bags, tiffins, purses and house keys also get misplaced every day on this public transport and a staggering number of people constantly forget the one thing they can't live without today — the cellphone! "We receive misplaced things from all over Mumbai. The conductors bring in lost items from individual depots on a daily basis," says deputy chief manager, Traffic (General), KE Bagwe. But the lost belongings do find their way into a home, albeit a makeshift one. It's at the BEST Lost Property section at the Wadala depot. "The Lost Property Section receives a huge mix of articles. Some time back, they also found a havaldar's lathi which was left on the bus," reveals M S Varade, deputy PRO, BEST.

There Is A Specific Procedure To Claim Each Lost Commodity

If a passenger claims the lost article is his/hers, it is inspected by the officer on duty after verifying the genuineness of the passenger and collecting the proper documents with necessary charges from the passenger (registration and storage fees), while issuing the articles.

If the articles are unclaimed at the chowkie/ depot handling them, they are to be forwarded to the centralised section at Wadala (H.O.) during the next working day.

The H.O. Wadala receives the unclaimed lost property articles with proper dispatch slip and note from the depots.

The articles received are then entered into the registers maintained by the H.O.

If the passenger inquires about the lost property via email or phone call or comes personally to collect it, they are given information about the lost articles which is maintained in the registers — such as cash register, valuables (gold, silver, diamonds) and sundry (papers, documents). There is also a separate one for umbrellas in the monsoon season, as they find almost 150 lost umbrellas a day!


Valuables "looking like" gold and silver that are lost or left behind in the bus, are collected and kept for a month, after which it goes into the cash department at Dadar. Till then it is kept in a safe deposit. After 100-120 items are collected, officials prepare an 'unclaimed list' and send it to Oshiwara dept for further auction. The BEST undertaking sees to the auction where an item's value is ascertained. It is then auctioned among those who participated in the inspection. "Someone once lost 10 tolas of gold. It was found by a conductor who deposited it at the Kurla Depot. The gold was returned to the passenger after verification," says Varade.

PERISHABLES AND SEMI-PERISHABLES: Perishable items like vegetables, milk, fruits that are found on the bus, are auctioned at the depot level among the staff in front of a duty officer. Semi-perishable items — tea powder, masala, oil, biscuits, sugar — are sent to the head office immediately and after 10 days they are also auctioned among the staff. "We make sure we check the date on each of the goods. If an item is not branded, like a cake, it has to be thrown away as it could be unhealthy to consume," he explains.

All articles (except perishables) that are deposited in the section are kept for a one-month period. Unclaimed items such as household stuff (tiffin carriers, utensils, plastic items, steel and furniture) are sent to the Oshiwara scrap yard (Stores Dept) and the sales department there auctions this, one learns.

MOBILE PHONES: One of the most 'left behind' items is the cellphone. "On a monthly basis we find about 250 phones. Of these 40-50% are claimed," informs Varade. There is a specific way to claim your phone. "We first ask for the person's phone bill and other documents as this is a risky commodity that can be easily misused. If someone is visiting from out of town, then we ask for a relative's address and a letter from them," he adds.

CASH: Besides several articles, cash to the tune of over a million rupees has been found left behind every year for the past three years. Says an official, "Unclaimed cash is kept for one month. After that, we deposit it with the Cash Department at the Dadar Workshop (BEST Dadar)." And how much do they receive? "On a monthly average Rs 60,000 — 70,000 is collected. We deposit Rs 30,000 — Rs 40,000, the rest is claimed by those who lose it. People can lose anything from Rs 1 to Rs 5,000; a person even lost a wad of Rs 10,000 notes once." The unclaimed money goes into the staff benefit fund, which comes under the BEST undertaking. Any credit or debit cards found are cut and destroyed.

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