After the notification of demonetization by Government of India on 08.11.2016, the Tea Board has taken several initiatives for ensuring smooth payment of wages to the tea garden workers and opening of bank accounts and enabling the workers to migrate to the digital payment system.
For ensuring smooth payment of wages to the tea garden workers in West Bengal, the Chairman, Tea Board has written to the Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal, on 23.11.2016 for implementation of the Notification No. 5881-F(Y) dated 16.11.16 of the State Government for payment to tea garden owners through the bank accounts of the District Administration. Letters were also issued by the Chairman, Tea Board, to the Chief Secretaries, Government of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, on 17.11.16, for issuing directives to the District Administration for accepting deposit of money from tea garden owners in any bank account of the District Administration and withdrawal of cash by the Administration for handing over to the owners for making payment to garden workers.
For follow up with the Bankers and tea producers associations, meetings were held by the Tea Board at Kolkata and Siliguri on 24.11.2016.
On 06.12.2016, a letter was written to the Labour Commissioner, Government of West Bengal to advise the operating Trade Unions to cooperate for opening the individual accounts in tea gardens, so that wages to the tea garden workers can be paid smoothly. The Board on 09.12.2016, requested all the State Governments of tea growing States for facilitating opening of accounts for the individual workers of tea gardens. The Zonal and Regional offices of the Tea Board are vigorously pursuing with the garden managements for opening of bank accounts for their workers and employees. Tea Producers Associations were also advised by the Board for facilitating the opening of individual bank accounts for the workers for smooth payment of wages.
Shri. Santosh Sarangi, Chairman, Tea Board, has discussed the issue of payment of wages to tea garden workers with the CGM, Reserve Bank of India and requested for taking effective steps by RBI for ensuring prompt payment of wages to the tea garden workers. This was followed up with a meeting of Tea Board Officials Shri A. K. Das, F. A. & C.A.O. and Shri S. Soundararajan, DTD, with the Regional Director and Chief General Manager of Reserve Bank of India, Kolkata on 21.12.2016. The officials of the Board requested the RBI officials on the following:
For issuing suitable directives to the concerned Banks catering to the tea gardens in North Bengal for taking special initiatives for smooth payment of wages to the tea garden workers
Measures for improvement in the currency flow to the tea growing Districts in the state of West Bengal i.e. Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling , Alipurduar and Coochbehar as per the requirement so that outstanding wages can be paid immediately and also ensuring timely payment of wages in coming days.
Expeditious opening of Bank Accounts under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), for individual workers so that wages can be transferred by the garden owners directly to the workers accounts.