Currency crunch hits workers’ wages in tea gardens

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Workers of Korola Valley tea garden in Jalpaiguri district today gheraoed the manager for two hours and blocked the arterial NH 31 for eight hours in protest against non-payment of their wages.

Plantation owners said they were facing problems to pay wages due to currency crunch and the RBI’s stricture not to allow the money to come into the District Magistrate’s account which could have been channelised into the accounts of the respective tea gardens bank accounts for cash withdrawal and payment.

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 tea garden

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This caused impasse in payment of wages to the labourers in several tea gardens in Jalpaiguri and adjoining Alipurduar districts, including Korola Valley, the Planters’ body said.

Police said the Korola workers agreed to lift the blockade around 3 pm after it began at 7 am and withdrew the gherao following assurances that their issue will be solved in next few days.

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Official sources said 7,000 employees of five tea gardens got their wages last Saturday when the RBI stricture on not keeping cash in DM’s office account was not in place.

However, once the apex bank set the guidelines wages could not be arranged in rest of the tea gardens but with the money expected to be deposited in the account of respective tea garden management, the wages can be arranged this week, the sources said.

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Meanwhile a meeting between the tea gardens, banks, district administration and several laboourer unions was taking place at Jalpaiguri Circuit House to take stock of the siituation.

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