“Forward ever, backward never: onwards with Breaking Through”

Salary cheque in hand, but cash eludes PO staffers

KOLKATA: What could have been a boon for post office employees has turned into a bane post demonetisation. They have got their salaries in cheque for the first time but have been denied cash withdrawal after they deposited the cheques in their accounts.

Post office employees say they have deposited these cheques in their respective postal savings accounts or in the banks but have not been able to withdraw the cash because of lack of funds. They used to receive salaries in cash but from this time around, it has become mandatory to receive them either in cheque or by bank transfer.

"Whatever cash supply we are getting is going into pension payments and payments for other postal schemes. The funds are drying up so fast that we are being able to pay to our customers in instalments. We have been advised by our respective head postoffices to hold on for some time before we are able to withdraw salaries," said Sukanto Sarkar, postmaster at the Calcutta University post office.

All post office employees were given an advance pay of Rs 10,000 to tide over the month-end crisis. But most complained that this was way below their requirement and they have been running on credit with their grocers, green grocers, milkmen etc. "But certain things like children's tuition fees cannot be delayed beyond a point, isn't it?" asked an employee of the Lansdowne post office.

"None of us has been able to withdraw the cheques that we have deposited. We got SBI Southern Avenue branch cheques where all of us and even the post office has its account. It is from this branch that our replenishment comes every morning. Only a very rationed amount is coming and we are using it only for customers as of now. We don't know when the situ ation will be come nor mal," rued Partha Ba nerjee, the postmaster here.

The notes crunch has hit post-offices so hard that they have started giving out payments to customers in cheque as well. "We had no choice. Our cash van has been visiting us very irregularly and while initially we had told pensioners and other customers that we will give them payments in installments of Rs 4000 a day , later when even that supply dried up, we are paying by cheque," said an official at Regent Park post-office.

Customers said that they were extremely inconvenienced by this. "We are being forced to take cheques, but we will now have to visit a bank to deposit it. Thereafter, we will be told by banks that there is no cash in their kitty . It's a vicious circle," rued Sulochona Sengupta who has received her pension by cheque.
  source.Times of India News .