Assam CM directs banking authorities to felicitate disbursal of tea garden workers weekly wages through bank accounts
In a high level meeting, which was attended by top Bank officials and representatives of Tea Associations, the Assam CM said that the tea garden workers should not face any inconvenience in availability their wages on time.
“Banks must put up a system which ensure that the Tea garden economy and its network of bussiness doesn’t suffer due to non-availability of adequate fund for payment of wages,” Sonowal stressed.
He further said that each Bank must take steps for opening of Bank accounts of the tea garden workers who are still left out as per list prepared in-coordination with the tea garden management and start disbursal through such accounts.
The Assam CM also took stock of the presence of Banking institutions in tea garden areas of the state and directed the Bank authorities to open sufficient nos. of Bank ATMs so that the account holders can transact money locally in a hassle-free manner.
Reiterating that financial literacy amongst tea garden workers is a need of the hour, Sonowal urged the Bankers to expedite such literacy programmes in a more intensive manner.
He further stated that ACMS has great inroad into the tea community and it must play a proactive role in educating the garden workers for availing the new mode of financial system.
The Assam CM further appreciated the active role played by the Banks in tiding over the crisis, especially the issue concerning timely payment of wages of tea garden workers which emerged out of demonetization of Rs. 500 and 1000 currencies.
“Team Assam spirit exhibited by the Banks need to be replicated again in putting this new mechanism in place for heralding cashless economy in the state,” Sonowal said.
The Banking authority also highly lauded the State Government’s proactive role and novel measures adopted in the state for disbursing wages to tea garden workers in the wake of demonetization.
“The Assam Model has received nation-wide attention and all the tea garden intensive states are emulating the same in letter and spirit,” SBI Chief General Manager PVSNL Murty said.
Acknowledging the CM’s directions and concerns, the Banking authorities have unanimously agreed to complete opening of Bank accounts of left out tea garden workers within December 5, 2016 to ensure disbursal of wages through such accounts from December 15, 2016 onwards.
It was also decided that all banks would open ATMs in Tea Gardens where there is sizable population. Banks would also introduce lobby ATMs through Customer Service Providers (CSP) and Banking Correspondents (BC) and space for such ATMs will be provided by respective tea gardens.
Meanwhile to explore possibilities for engaging tea garden management as CSP and BC, consultations will be held between Banks and TE management shortly to settle the matter.
The Chief Minister’s Media Adviser Hrishikesh Goswami, Additional Chief Secretary KV Eapen, Commissioner & Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Lohia, Commissioner & Secretary (Finance) Ravi Kota, Regional Manager, Reserve Bank of India, NE Region, Chief General Manager, State Bank of India and representatives of other banks as well as Tea Associations were present in the meeting.
(Reporting by Hemanta Kumar Nath)