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Insufficient Cash At Money Transfer Counter Dampens Christmas

2016-12-28 21:15

A Christian family in sombre mood in Begopara


Ranaghat, Dec. 28: Disbursement of limited cash by the local agents of different money transferring companies has dampened the festive spirit among the members of the Christian community in Nadia’s Ranaghat. Family members of a large number of people in the town who work in different foreign countries could not so far withdraw sufficient amount of money they needed to celebrate the Christmas and the ensuing New Year’s Eve. Serious problems have cropped up as the agents of money transferring services like Western Union, Express Money and others have stopped their pay-out in cash largely even for small amounts and issuing cheques instead on local banks as they also have been suffering from cash crisis.

The restriction on withdrawal of money has created enormous troubles to the people here as they are not in a position to celebrate even thought they have received good amount of money from their kin working abroad.

Ranaghat has a dense Christian population. Around fifteen thousand Christians hailed from town’s Begopara, Don Bosco Para, Srinathpur, Anulia, Coopers who work in hotel and construction industries in mainly in different Arabian countries as well as US and South Africa.

These people mostly send money to their families through money transferring services provided by Western Union, Express Money and other agencies. The Western Union service is also available with Post offices and with some nationalized banks. But, the service is largely provided by private agents of these in rural areas, who are not in a position to make the pay out in cash.

As per the Reserve Bank of India’s norm the money transferring companies can pay a maximum amount of Rupees 49999 in cash to a receiver sent in his favor. But, owing to the cash crisis, the local service agents have been finding it hard to pay such amounts instantly in cash. The absence of cash led the agents to pay even smaller amounts through cheque making the situation tough for the receivers.

Rony Gomes, a member of Baidyapur panchayat, who resides in Don Bosco para and runs a cyber café said: “My elder brother Tapas works in restaurant in New York and sent Rupees thirty thousand three day before the Christmas through a money transfer service. But, the local agent issued me a cheque. I could not withdraw the entire amount in one term due to the weekly restriction. This hampered the Christmas marketing largely. I had to cancel some celebration plans”.

Same is the experience of Manik Sarkar, a clerk with state land and land reforms department. His son Bappa works as a service agent with a cooking gas supplying company in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Bappa has sent money to him. However, Sarkar is yet to withdraw the amount entirely from bank.

“I have to go to bank at least two more times because the amount is beyond the weekly permissible limit. I personally support the demonetization. But, Government should consider a relaxation during this festive season. Lack of sufficient cash largely spoiled the Christmas celebration of my family”, Sarkar said.

The problem became critical for those who still have no bank accounts. Such people are being forced by the agents to take money in several installments.

Rony Gomes said: “In my panchayat area there are still several people who have no bank account. As a result they are being paid cash through installments as they agents have no bulk money to pay them instantly”.

“The people generally depend on the money transferring companies as they pay faster than banks. But, the absence of cash with the local agents have created major problem”, Gomes added.

As per the RBI norms to transfer money through the money transferring services, the payee needs to obtain a money transfer control number (MTCN) first. Once the payee sent money to a receiver assigning his identity detail, he has to submit his identity proof to receive the amount. The local agents pay the money to the receiver from his personal cash, which the service companies credit to his account within 24 hours.

Sanjay Biswas of Cecelia computer centre, who has Western union agency said: “Till early November I paid the receivers in hard cash. But now it has become impossible as I am running out of hard cash. A restriction of weekly withdrawal of Rupees 50000 from current account has spoiled the business. How can I pay money in cash unless I have it?”

Another agent operating in Coopers said: “We are helpless. The banks are not paying even the prescribed weekly amount. So how could we run the business? The daily cash transfer amount at my counter has been dropped to merely about 70% during the last two months”.

Ashim Dutta, post master of Begopara sub post office, where Western Union service is available, said: “The people generally want cash in hand. We have paid some small amounts in cash. But, we have credited the money to the postal savings accounts who have such accounts with our post office”.

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