Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to restore payments to the tea garden workers through the state government.
On the occasion of International Tea Day Chief Minister tweeted: “I would like to again request the Centre and RBI to extend a helping hand to the tea garden workers in Bengal. Tea garden workers are hungry and dying due to demonetisation of high value currency notes and note ban. RBI must immediately restore payments by our government through DMs.”
Her comments came on a day the senior Trinamool Congress’s ministers and leaders organised a sit-down demonstration in front of the RBI office in Kolkata to protest against the insufficient supply of new currency notes in the state that caused serious inconveniences to the people.
The protest movement was staged when the RBI Governor Urjit Patel was in the city to attend the central board meet of the RBI in the city on Thursday.
Patel, then, met the Chief Minister, state finance minister and the senior officials of the state government at Nabanna later on the day.
Banerjee had earlier alleged that tea garden workers were “dying” in the aftermath of demonetisation and demanded the intervention of the Centre in this regard. She said that the RBI should continue payments to the tea garden workers through the state government till March 2017.
“I demand RBI restore payments through the District Magistrates immediately and continue till March next year. Our hungry tea garden workers are dying due to the banning of currency notes,” Banerjee said on Twitter.
Banerjee also accused the Central government of discriminating between states with regards to disbursement of cash from RBI. She had been vocal against the Centre for its discriminating policy towards the state. She expressed her dissatisfaction as the tea garden workers have been starving as their payments stopped due to cash crunch.
“While both states started a similar payment model, suddenly Bengal’s payments were cut off end of November. Our workers are starving,” she said.
It may be mentioned that around seven persons have so far died in the state after suffering woes caused by the sudden announcement of demonetisation of high value currency notes.
Many people died after suffering a stroke while standing in the bank queues.