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Difficulties continue to plague over three lakh workers in the tea gardens of north Bengal. On Tuesday, wages weren’t distributed to tea plantation workers at Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri after respective administrations refused to disburse money to tea garden management in the two districts, citing absence of RBI guidelines.
After demonetisation, the limit of bulk cash withdrawals have come in the way of wage payments. A window mentioned in an RBI directive says that money can be withdrawn from government accounts beyond stipulated ceiling in case of exceptions. Officials added it was agreed that planters could deposit money through cheque or electronic transfers to accounts of DMs. They would then issue cheques to the management.
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However, administration officials in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar said that even though the state finance department had cleared the matter, “there are no directive from RBI till now regarding how much money could be paid to gardens via cheque”.
An official explained, “Some gardens have transferred their money for wage payments to our accounts. But there are no directives from RBI clearly explaining how much money can be paid to the gardens via cheque.
“This puts us in a difficult situation because private money can’t be routed through government accounts.”