BEST to pay staff Diwali bonus

Under pressure from BEST workers' unions, the cash-strapped BEST undertaking has granted in-principle approval to provide annual bonus to its employees this Diwali. The decision was taken on Thursday after the intervention of Mayor Sunil Prabhu in a meeting with BEST unions and the General Manager of BEST. However, the amount of the bonus and the date of disbursal are yet to be decided.

Till about two days ago, BEST was finding it difficult to pay the basic monthly salary to its 47,000 employees. At a BEST committee meeting on Tuesday, General Manager O P Gupta had indicated that it would be tough to disburse the yearly bonus. However, two BEST workers' unions threatened to launch an agitation if the bonus was not paid.

"We are happy that BEST has granted in-principle nod for a bonus, so we have decided not to go on a protest. We will have another discussion with the mayor to decide the quantum of bonus and the date of payment," said Suhas Samant of the Shiv Sena. Samant is a leader of a BEST workers' union and a member of BEST committee.

BEST, which has been posting losses for the past decade, has also not been able to pay the Rs 894 crore it owes Tata Power Company for the July-October period. The BMC, offered relief recently when it approved a loan of Rs 1,600 crore for five years.

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