Although a number of camps were held at small-scale industrial units in Manesar in the last 50 days to open bank accounts for workers, the paperwork has not transformed into accounts.
As per the estimate of industrial associations in Manesar, over 50,000 workers need bank accounts. However, as the account opening process has been slow, industrialists and workers are facing problems in paying and receiving wages.
Over 5,000 labourers filled forms to open accounts during camps organised by Manesar Industries Welfare Association (MIWA) in the first and second weeks of December. The MIWA now alleges that not even 25% accounts have been opened.
The association has written a letter to the lead bank manager, Gurgaon, saying most of the daily wagers who got forms filled have now been asked to get endorsements from companies in which they are not permanent employees.
“These workers were not regular employees and they stood in queues for two days to submit documents. People are running from pillar to post with cheques. The government needs to look into the matter on priority as these people are suffering,” Suman Chawla, secretary, MIWA, said.
Pardeep Singh, a worker, who filled the form on December 13, 2016, has not been contacted by the bank so far. “I have visited the bank two times but in vain. I have to pay my room rent. Owners of my company are not ready to pay us in cash. We have no idea what to do and how to solve this situation. Nearly a month has passed and banks still do not know when they will be able to complete the work ad provide the account number,” Singh said.
Bankers, however, said the direction to deposit salary to bank accounts of workers was issued three years ago but it was not followed until the Centre announced the note ban. Bank officials said they have been under immense pressure since November 8, when demonetisation was announced, and they do not have the adequate staff to open accounts in such large numbers
A senior banker said while industry gave all business to private banks, it wanted the public sector banks to only share their burden.
“The note ban, opening accounts and handling note exchange and deposits have made operations very difficult. Why are the industrialists not asking private banks to open accounts for workers with ₹1,000 as minimum balance instead ₹10,000?” a senior banker said.
RC Nayak, lead bank manager, Gurgaon, said strict instructions were issued to all banks to ensure that accounts were opened for workers at the earliest. “There is pressure on banks as well but this situation will be brought under control in a month,” he said.