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6 Feb 2017

NBSTC check on coin collection - Bus conductors asked not to deposit more than Rs 100 a day in coins at depots

NBSTC buses parked at Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminus in Siliguri. File Picture
TT, Raiganj, Feb. 5: The divisional manager of North Bengal State Transport Corporation in Raiganj issued a notice today mentioning that conductors would be allowed to make a maximum deposit of only Rs 100 in coins as the sale proceeds of tickets everyday because the banks were not accepting coins.
Subir Saha, the DM of NBSTC, said: "The sale proceeds collected in the depots are deposited in banks everyday. In recent times, we have been getting huge amount of coins and could manage to deposit coins worth Rs 85,000 in the banks in two phases. But because of steady inflow of coins, a considerable amount is lying with us as the banks are reluctant to accept it. In such a situation, we are forced to issue this instruction."
Representatives of different employees' associations of the NBSTC demonstrated at the depot demanding revocation of the order.
The conductors have been asked to refrain from accepting more coins from passengers once they have coins worth Rs 100 with them, sources said.
The daily commuters who board the NBSTC buses have expressed anguish at the decision and the employees said the decision would pose a problem for the conductors.
According to the employees, around 42 buses of the NBSTC ply on different routes of north and south Bengal from Raiganj everyday. "The daily collection in Raiganj is around Rs 3 lakh, out of which Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 are collected in coins," an employee said.
Chandrakanta Roy, a conductor posted in Raiganj, said: "If the notice is not revoked, we will face a huge problem. If any passenger offers me a coin, I cannot deny it and in case I do so, I might face the wrath of travellers."
"On the other hand, those sitting at the collection counter of the depot will only accept coins amounting to Rs 100. This means we will have to get the coins exchanged with notes from someplace or other. It is not possible to make such exchanges everyday, he added."
According to Roy, if the authorities continue to stick to the instruction, the conductors will have no other option but to take mass leave.
Pranab Basak, the president of the Intuc backed NBSTC Workers' Union, said they had held protests today as the conductors would have to face harassment everyday because of the decision.
"I travel to Gangarampur from Raiganj everyday boarding the NBSTC buses. Most of the times, I pay the fare in coins. There is no directive from the Centre or the Reserve Bank of India that coins have been demonetised. This is completely illegal," Nirmal Roy, a Raiganj resident, said.
Koushik Dey, the assistant general secretary of the Drivers' and Trinamul Karmachari Union, said they would launch a movement in protest against the instruction.
The divisional manager, however, was confident that the conductors would not face any problem.
"In case the conductors receive coins in more than Rs 100 from passengers during a trip, they will always find passengers who would pay in notes. While paying balance to these passengers, they can give coins. In this way, the conductors can dispose the excess coins and deposit the remaining coins worth Rs 100 at the depot's counter," the divisional manager said.

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