Steps have been taken to set up branches of a bank near tea estates in Alipurduar to help tea workers get their salary without facing any trouble. A nationalised bank has already set up some of their mini-units near the tea estate.
The district Alipurduar, which is home to 302 tea estates, will soon get several mini bank branches near the tea estate areas. “The ultimate goal is to bring the solution of the problem faced by workers. Several workers of the tea estate are not getting salaries due to currency note crisis,” said an officer of district administration.
However, the owners of the tea estate instructed their workers to open the bank accounts as soon as
possible. “We know many of the tea estate have shut shop due to the sudden demonetisation drive by Central government. Now that the banks are helping us, we can save our trade,” said a tea
However, the limit of money withdrawal from the current account has created trouble for the tea estate owners. The amount -- Rs 50,000 per week is not enough to run the business, said the estate owners in North Bengal. It needs at least Rs 2-3 lakh per week to run the garden, claimed the estate owners.
The Indian Tea Association sent letter to RBI addressing their problems. The association said that India is known for its tea production. The Centre should give priority to this sector.
“Now it is good that we can pay out salary to the bank accounts of the workers. Those workers can get salary now. But the management of the tea garden also maintains the raw materials and other important activities in the garden. We at least need Rs 2 lakh per week to run the garden. Now who will address this problem,” the owners asked.
“We need cash; otherwise we cannot run the estate. The workers and labourers will leave the estate. The production will be stopped. No maintenance work can be done,” said S K Ghai, on behalf of Gondrapara Tea Estate in Alipurduar.
“We cannot buy medicines from the shops for out labourers. We have no cash to buy fuel for trucks. The production is on a hold,” said a manager of tea estate.