Tea planters and jute mill owners in Bengal have written to the RBI and the state West Bengal government, requesting a waiver on the ceiling of withdrawal on the basis that it would lead to difficulties in paying wages to labourers. Adarsh Kanoria, the president of Tea Association of India (TAI), wrote to RBI governor Urjit Patel, pointing out that the owners of 1,000-odd tea estates in Bengal and Assam were worried as wage payments would get delayed. In the letter, the association mentioned that delay in payments could lead to protests and a law-and-order breach.
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An official said, “Wages are paid in cash, and many gardens were scheduled for payments on Thursday and Friday. But because of the ceiling, most people haven’t been able to withdraw money, and as a result, the letter was written to RBI and the state requesting that banks relax the ceiling for tea companies.”
In most gardens, wages are paid in cash fortnightly. Officials of TAI said 400 to 1,000 workers are employed across the 1,000-odd estates, apart from several thousand casual workers. The association has also written to state Labour Minister Malay Ghatak and administrative officials working in tea-producing districts.
The Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) wrote to RBI Regional Director (East), highlighting its plight in wake of the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and limited supply of new notes from banks.
“We need to draw the attention to the fact that about 2.5-2.7 lakh workers are mostly being paid fortnightly wages in 90 mills across the country. There had been limited success in attempts to get bank accounts for the workers,” the IJMA had said in the letter.
The letter also sought a review of the notification on the limitation of cash withdrawal to Rs 10,000 per day, with overall limit of Rs 20,000 in a week till November 24. The IJMA added that it will not be possible to disburse wages amounting to Rs 270-300 crore a month unless the notification is relaxed for the mills or a workable solution is derived.
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