New Delhi: Gearing up for the festive season, the Indian Railways will press close to 4,000 special trains into service for the extra rush during Durga Puja, Deepawali and Chhat festivals.
There will be no sale of platform tickets during the festival period at certain busy stations, in order to regulate rush at platform till October 30.
In addition, about 9,500 extra coaches will be added on 306 existing train services for Patna, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Mumbai to accommodate more passengers.
However, passengers will have to pay about 30% extra for availing these special trains to reach their destinations during the festival.
Last year, the railways had run about 3,800 special trains to facilitate passengers movement during the festival, said a senior railway ministry official.
While some special trains have already been pressed into service since September 15, more such services are being readied and will continue till October 30.
While tickets will be made available online, there will be the option to buy them from counters as well. There will be more ticket counters at railway stations to handle rush.
In order to keep the touts at bay and curb the sale of tickets in an illegal manner, the railways will increase the presence of RPF personnel near the ticketing areas.
Steps are also being taken to make the public aware of the schedules of these special trains for various destinations across the country.
The government has also decided to pay 78 days wages as a bonus to railway employees, the same for the sixth consecutive year. The bonus was announced after Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
The cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved a pay productivity-linked bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days wages to eligible non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) for the financial year 2016-17.
The PLB, paid to about 12 lakh railway employees each year before the Dussehra festival, is to cost the railways over Rs 2,000 crore.
Suffering from poor infrastructure, the railways is currently witnessing derailments on a regular basis, besides a slowdown in loadings and drop in number of passengers making short journeys. However, the All-India Railwaymen’s Federation general secretary Shiv Gopal Mishra said the bonus is expected to motivate employees to improve the financial position of the public transporter.
Bonus payment will result in motivating a large number of railway employees to improve the performance of the railways and enhance productivity levels, further besides maintaining industrial peace, Mishra added.
The bonus is expected to be around Rs 18,000-19,000 per employee.