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Railways may declare 78-day bonus in festive season

New Delhi: Despite facing an acute financial crunch, Railways is planning to give Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days wages to its 12 lakh employees in the festive season.

A proposal to this effect is being finalised and will be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval, railway sources said.

Last year, Railways had given 77-day bonus. Though there are a total of 13.26 lakh railway employees, about 1.26 lakh employees are not covered under the PLB.

"Railways will declare the bonus after getting Cabinet approval," the sources said, adding "as per the plan under consideration, an employee will get Rs 8,975 as bonus this year."

M Raghavaiah, General Secretary of National Federation of Indian Railwaymen, said, "We had demanded 80 days bonus this year because Railways have carried more loadings than last year. Loadings have gone up from the 876 million tonnes (MT) in 2010 to 924 MT till March 2011."

On the financial crunch facing railways, he said, "It is true that Railways` financial position is not good. But its employees should not be deprived of their due because of that.

We have suggested passenger fare hike to improve finances."

The working expenses of Railways have increased from Rs 41,033 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 73,650 crore in 2011-12. The pension outgo during the same period has also increased from Rs 7953 crore to Rs 16,000 crore.

The implementation of Sixth Pay Commission has also impacted Railways which had to pay an additional amount of Rs 73,000 crore on account of staff and pension payment including arrears.

The increase in prices of fuel and electricity have also adversely affected the finances of railways.The fuel cost touched Rs 1001 crore in the 2010-11 fiscal and it stood at Rs 559.72 crore till date in the current fiscal.

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