KOLKATA: A day before completion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ultimatum of 50 days for improvement of the cash cruch situation in the country after demonetisation, workers at Reserve Bank of India mint at Salboni in West Bengal — one of the four mints of the country where new notes are being printed — have refused to work for more than 9 hours in a shift. At present, they have been working 12 hours a shift to meet the increased demand for new notes.
The situation has become even more complex as the Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL) employees union is governed by the Trinamool Congress, which says that many employees have fallen ill due to the long hours of duty after demonetisation.
“Since November 14, the workers of Salboni and Mysuru mints have been working for 12 hours every shift to meet the huge demand of notes, especially the Rs 100 and Rs 500 notes. Several of the employees have fallen ill due to the long duty hours. This can’t be continued,” said BRBNMPL employees’ union president and Trinamool Congress MP Sisir Adhikary.
Some 700 employees of BRBNMPL are working additional three hours every shift since November 14 to print currency notes of denominations Rs 10 to Rs 2,000 worth Rs 9.6 crore every shift.
Their demand to work in 9-hour shifts would amount to deficit printing of around Rs 2.8 crore every shift.
This may cause a shortage of notes in the market. The notes from Salboni mint are circulated in as many as 12 states in eastern and northeastern India.
“We are neither slaves nor robots that we will work for 12 hours every day for the greater good of the country. We are humans. We need rest,” a BRBNMPL employee said.
“We are not owned by some powerful people for whose erratic decisions, we have to give up our family life,” said another employee.