By Sabir Nishat
Joyous atmosphere prevailed as scores of tea labourers of Vernerpur in Hailakandi district on Tuesday got their weekly wages through bank accounts via digital mode for the first time ever.
Since afternoon as bank officials and employees of six Customer Service Providers of United Bank of India turned up at the Vernerpur tea estate, tea garden workers numbering 786 had queued up early morning with gaiety and enthusiasm to take part in the cashless transactions via digital mode.
Deputy Commissioner Moloy Bora along with other officials of the district administration witnessed the smooth and hassle-free transaction of wages through bank accounts.
Interacting with the tea labourers, Deputy Commissioner Bora called upon them to adopt cashless transactions which will enable them to save money as well. “It augurs well that tea workers are withdrawing money which they needed and the rest they have started saving. The future of the workers will be safe and secured.”
Bora who took a slew of initiatives to open bank accounts in all the 17 tea gardens of the district exuded the optimism that like Vernerpur, other gardens would also make payment of wages through bank accounts of workers on or before the Government deadline of January 15.
The DC told newsmen that ATMs will be installed in all the tea gardens within January 10.
Manager of Vernerpur tea estate, PK Chakraborty said that though there were some initial problems faced by the workers, they have overwhelmingly embraced the new mode of cashless payment through digital mode. Chakraborty asserted that any problem being encountered by workers would be resolved once ATMs are installed in the garden.
The tea garden workers opined that the payment of wages through their bank accounts would not only make transactions fast and easy but also help them to save money as well. “Unlike in the recent past when tea workers spent all the cash the moment they got it, this time around it has been witnessed that they withdrew what they required. This practice of savings will help them to stand in good stead in future,” said District Labour Officer, Alimuddin Barbhuiya.
Barbhuiya pointed out that once uninterrupted network connectivity in the gardens, especially in the far flung ones, is ensured by BSNL and other service providers there will be smooth and hassle free cashless transactions through digital mode. “We have made a great beginning towards cashless mode of payment and that is important,” he added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Moloy Bora has convened a high level meeting with district, bank and NIC officials with a view to generating awareness on cashless transactions at the grassroots level at his official conference room on December 31.