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29 Dec 2016

Salboni mint staff won’t work overtime, note output takes hit

HT, 28 Dec 2016, KOLKATA: Employees of Salboni currency printing press in West Midnapore district have stopped working overtime, citing health reasons, which is likely to reduce the number of notes printed daily by 6 million at a time when the deadline for demonetisation is drawing close. After putting in 12-hour shifts for the past fortnight to put more cash into the system, some of the employees began complaining of back pain, disturbed sleep and overall physical and mental stress.
As a result of the 12-hour shifts, insteadof theusualnine-hourones, the press was printing 46 million currency notes per day. But with three shifts from Wednesday, the number of notes Salboni is printing is set to go down to 40 million.
Though the press has the facilities to print notes of all denominations, it has been mostly printing Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes since November 9. “We entered into an agreement with the management on December 14 for working on 12-hour shifts for two weeks. The agreement ended on December 27 and we have refused to continue with it,” a member of Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Private Limited (BRBNMPL) Employees’ Association told HT on conditions of anonymity.
The BRBNMPL Employees’ Association is affiliated to the Trinamool Congress and party MP Sisir Adhikary is the president. Incidentally, Trinamool chief and Bengal chief minister is one of the most strident critics of the Prime Minister’s demonetisation decision.
The Salboni press is one of the two currency printing presses under the Reserve Bank of India, the other being in Mysore. Two other currency printing presses, in Nashik (Maharashtra) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), are run by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd. “It is solely the health impact of continuously working for long hours that forced us to switch to normal shift hours,” an employee said. The machines remain idle during shift change. “When the day is broken up into more shifts, the machine remains idle for more time between the shifts, and that’s the reason for lower production. In a bid to increase production, RBI had asked the press management to reduce shifts (and thereby increase production),” a source told HT.
From Wednesday the press has switched to two nine-hour and one six-hour shift.

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