TAMIL NADU

Demonetisation hits plantation workers in Yercaud

The boat house, which used to brim with people on weekends, wears a deserted look on Sunday.–Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

The boat house, which used to brim with people on weekends, wears a deserted look on Sunday.–Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan  

Even while the demonetisation has led to sharp fall in the arrival of tourists to Yercaud, it has also hit a large number of plantation workers employed in the big and small estates on the hill station.

The non-availability of adequate currency of lower denomination, absence of adequate bank branches for the exchange of the scrapped currency and the non-functioning of the ATMs have hit the plantation workers in the form of non-disbursement of wages.

Yercaud accounts for 67 tribal villages with a majority of the population employed as daily wagers in the coffee estates. The hill station has five bank branches and six ATMs. With ATMs not functioning, the queues at the bank branches are getting longer day by day.

The plantation workers are paid wages once a week. With the government restricting the withdrawal to Rs. 10,000 and exchange limit to Rs. 4,000, the estate owners are not in a position to disburse small denomination currency to them.

V. K. Nallamuthu, general secretary of the Indian Trade Union Congress (INTUC), while welcoming the initiative of the government, said its execution without proper planning had caused untold hardship to people.

The workers and their families, who mainly depend on the wages for the day to day expenses, were badly hit. They were at present forced to approach money lenders, he added.

With only a few big hotels accepting online transaction, the arrival of tourists here has decreased and the rooms in small hotels remained vacant.

Mr. Nallamuthu pleaded with the banks to rush adequate lower denomination currency to the hill station, open more counters for the exchange of currency and make all the ATMs operational.

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