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Demonetisation: Special Dispensation for Assam Tea Garden Labourers to ensure timely Payment of Wages

The move is expected to bring relief to over 800 small and big tea gardens in Assam

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Representational image. Pixabay

Guwahati, November 13, 2016: In view of apprehensions that the Centre’s demonetisation move would affect wage disbursal to tea garden labour in Assam, the central government has made special arrangements for the tea gardens of the state to ensure timely payment of wages to labourers, state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.

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The tea garden managements concerned would give a cheque of the amount required to disburse the weekly salary of the labourers to the Deputy Commissioners of the districts who would in turn withdraw the money from the bank and hand it over to the tea garden management, Sarma told media persons in Assam’s capital Dispur.

The move is expected to bring relief to over 800 small and big tea gardens in Assam which require around Rs 50 crore per week to pay wages to over ten lakh labourers.

The demonetisation move, it is feared, will hit the tea gardens where cash is the only mode of payment.

A number of tea garden managements and associations had approached the state government seeking assistance to handle the issue and fearing law and order situation in the gardens on pay day which varies from Friday to Sunday.

“Our government has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office, the central government and the Reserve Bank of India immediately. We are thankful that the government has responded so fast and arranged special dispensation for the tea gardens in the state,” Sarma said.

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“From now on, the Deputy Commissioners would receive the cheque required to pay wages to the labourers from the concerned tea gardens and withdraw the money from the bank and hand it over to the garden management for disbursement of their weekly wages,” he said.

He added that, in the process, the government would also have a correct data about the wages paid to the tea garden workers by the management.

The Assam government had several times appealed to the tea garden managements to increase the wages to the workers, but some gardens are yet to implement it.

The Minister admitted that the people of the state were facing problems due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination banknotes and lack of sufficient currency in the ATMs but expressed confidence that the situation will be normal by next week.

“There are 3,115 ATMs of the State bank of India in Assam and all of them would be loaded with new currency notes by Sunday evening,” he said.

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“Out of the total ATMs, 2,900 have already been loaded with Rs 100 denomination banknotes,” he said.

SBI has so far disbursed Rs 3,654 crore in the entire northeastern states in the last two days, including Rs 2,600 crore in Assam alone.

“Apart from this, private banks are estimated to have disbursed another Rs 1,100 crore during these two days,” he said. (IANS)

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Stresses Cooperative Federalism for Ganga Rejuvenation

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers for Jal Shakti, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Urban Affairs, Power, Tourism, Shipping, and the Chief Ministers of UP and Uttarakhand, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, the Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog and other senior officials

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the River Ganga rejuvenation should be an example of cooperative federalism and it has been a long-pending challenge.

The Prime Minister made this observation at the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur, UP, on Saturday. The meeting was aimed at reinforcing the importance of a Ganga-centric approach in all departments of the states concerned as well as relevant central ministries.

He also asked for formation of a digital dashboard where data from villages and urban bodies would be monitored on a daily basis by the Niti Ayog and the Ministry of Jal Shakti. All districts bordering Ganga should be made a focus area for monitoring efforts under the Namami Gange project, he said.

Modi said a lot had been accomplished since the government took up ‘Namami Gange’ in 2014 as a comprehensive initiative, integrating various government efforts and activities, with the aim of reducing pollution, and conservation and rejuvenation of Ganga.

Notable achievements had been zero waste creation by paper mills and reduction in pollution from tanneries, he said and added, but a lot was required to be done.

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river. Wikimedia Commons

The Prime Minister emphasised that improvement would require full cooperation from the public at large and greater awareness through dissemination of best practices from cities situated along the banks of national rivers.

“For the first time, the central government has made a commitment of Rs 20,000 crore for 2015-20 to the five states through which Ganga passes, to ensure adequate as well as uninterrupted water flow. Rs 7,700 crore has been spent, prominently for construction of new sewage treatment plants,” said a government statement.

Prime Minister also urged for a holistic thinking process where ‘Namami Gange’ would evolved into ‘Arth Ganga’ or a sustainable development model with a focus on economic activities related to Ganga.

Also Read: Chinese Scientists Reveal Distribution History of Endangered Trees

“As part of this process, farmers should be encouraged to engage in sustainable agriculture practices, including zero budget farming, planting of fruit trees and building plant nurseries along the banks of Ganga. Priority could be given to women self-help groups and ex-servicemen organisations for these programmes,” it added.

The meeting discussed tapping the hybrid tourism potential of the river basin area for religious and adventure tourism. “The income generated from encouraging eco-tourism and Ganga wildlife conservation and cruise tourism would help generate sustainable income streams for cleaning of Ganga,” the government said.

The meeting was attended by Union Ministers for Jal Shakti, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health, Urban Affairs, Power, Tourism, Shipping, and the Chief Ministers of UP and Uttarakhand, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, the Vice-Chairman of the Niti Aayog and other senior officials. (IANS)