Cash crunch: Major bank union seeks members help to hold conference

Chennai, Dec 30 (IANS) The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) that is holding its four day national conference here is managing its cash needs with the help of its members, said a top union official.

“Around 4,000 people are expected to attend the four day conference scheduled to start on January 8. We have to pay cash for local transport of delegates and others. Similarly other workers – conference venue sweepers, workers of caterers and others – have to be paid in cash,” AIBEA General Secretary C.H.Venkatachalam told IANS.

While the union has sufficient amount in its bank accounts, it is not able to withdraw cash beyond Rs 24,000 per week, the limit announced by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for all the bank account holders, Venkatachalam said.

“We have requested some members to withdraw cash from their accounts and give to the union to meet the conference expenses while the union will reimburse the amount to the members by cheque,” Venkatachalam said.

“I am afraid to imagine the plight of ordinary people in meeting the marriage expenses of their daughters given the cash crunch. As a banking sector union, we can seek our members to help out. But such facility is not available for a normal individual,” he noted.

According to him, there was no last minute rush in banks to deposit the demonetised Rs 500 or 1,000 notes.

“But the cash crunch continues. Most of the ATMs are dry. If the government relaxes the withdrawal limit upwards from Rs 24,000 per week, then the situation may turn tougher,” Venkatachalam said.

According to K.Thamaraiselvan, General Secretary, Andhra Bank Employees Union Madras, the number of cheques coming for clearance has gone up several times putting the staff at the cheque clearing centres to great difficulty.

“Prior to demonetisation the number of cheques that would come for clearance in Chennai clearing centre of Andhra Bank was around 20,000 per day. But now it has gone up to 70,000 cheques per day,” Thamaraiselvan said.

He said the staff strength has not gone up.

Union officials said the bank employees across the country were involved in managing the cash position for the past 50 days and may be doing so for some more time to come.

They said there was no time to attend to loan proposals and this quarter results may not be good for the banks.