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Govt seeks report from TEs over cash fiasco


GUWAHATI, Nov 10 - The State government has sought details from the tea associations on the problems the gardens are facing in paying daily wages to the workers in the wake of restrictions imposed on cash withdrawal from banks in the next few days.

�The daily wage (disbursed either fortnightly or weekly) is paid in cash. Even a medium-size garden requires around Rs 20 lakh for the weekly payment. The restrictions imposed on withdrawal - even if temporarily - have made it difficult for us to arrange it,� said a tea industry source.

In the first few days, there would be a limit of 10,000 rupees per day and 20,000 rupees per week for withdrawal from banks. This limit would go up in the coming days. When the ATMs resume operation, there would be a limit of Rs 2,000 per day per card on withdrawal. This would be raised to Rs 4,000 later.

Tea associations had yesterday raised an alarm over the cash fiasco and had written to the Reserve Bank of India and the State government.

�The Chief Secretary has asked for details of the gardens, transactions and amount that need to be withdrawn. The government is likely to take up the matter with the RBI,� Tea Association of India secretary Dipanjol Deka told this newspaper today.

The Assam Valley�s Consultative Committee of Planters Association has also written to the RBI and the State Labour Commissioner citing their predicament. Fearing labour unrest due to non-disbursement of the daily wage on time, the tea garden managements have also asked the respective district administrations to provide additional security.

Vegetable and other vendors in the city continued to be hit by the government�s decision to demonetise the old high denomination notes.

Markets were dull for the second consecutive day today, as customers were not paying in small notes. �Customers came with Rs 500 notes to buy a little vegetable. Customers were not paying in small denominations,� said a vendor at Ganeshguri.

�Vegetable is a perishable commodity. A good chunk of vegetables has gone waste since yesterday. The growers have been hit too. This chain reaction will continue for a couple of days,� he said.

Daily wage earners were also affected as they were being offered high denomination notes even if their earning was below Rs 500. Shortage of small notes was reported from various parts of the State. �Yesterday our sale was Rs 23,000. But 95 per cent of it was through cards. Now we don�t have cash to pay the agents and vendors who provide the vegetables, groceries etc,� said the owner of a city food joint.

The old notes can be exchanged at the banks within December 30. They can also be deposited at the bank accounts or through cash deposit machines.

There were also reports of black market of Rs 100 notes in operation in some city areas.

Cab service providers like Uber have also issued messages to their customers urging them to carry small denominations as old higher ones will not be accepted.

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