Kerala

Estates cool to pay disbursal via treasury

The government’s offer to distribute wages of estate workers through the treasury, in the face of currency crunch following demonetisation, has found few takers in the plantation sector in the district.

As per the District Collector’s order, wages will be disbursed through cheques or demand draft once the plantation inspector gives a certificate on the number of workers on the rolls.

Cardamom plantations are mostly individual owned and temporary workers are being employed, most of them on daily wages from Tamil Nadu.

An estate owner at Vandanmedu told The Hindu that the wages were settled on Saturdays and no muster roll was being kept as workers were shared among the estates.

He said the cardamom estate owners withdrew money from their bank accounts and those of their kin to settle the wages.

Tea sector

Of the 57 tea estates registered with the plantation inspector’s office, only four — Boyce Estate, Connimara Estate, Karinttharuvi Estate, and Pullikanam Estate — have applied for wage disbursal through treasury.

An official at the inspector’s office said there were estates that employed below five workers.

An official at Boyce Estate, which has 400 workers, on Thursday said an application was filed on Monday and the District Collector promised that cash would be transferred within two days.

A move to disburse salary through ATMs was objected to by those working in remote estates. They said they would lose a day’s work if they went to draw cash from ATMs located in the towns.

Following demonetisation, the managements of cardamom estates had cut down on the number of workers to the minimum to meet the shortage of currency notes. In the tea estates, a part of the workers’ wages was being withheld with the promise that it would be disbursed once the crisis was over.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 11:02:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Estates-cool-to-pay-disbursal-via-treasury/article16723931.ece

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