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Banks and treasuries in Kerala are witnessing heavy rush and serpentine queues today for the second consecutive day, with people queueing up to withdraw salaries and pensions.
The state government had asked RBI to release Rs 127 crore to meet the demand for distributing salaries and pensions, but received only Rs 57 crore till 11 AM, official sources here said.
As many as 50 treasuries are yet to receive any amount and the treasury employees are waiting at the banks to get the money released, they said.
Irrespective of cities and villages, senior citizens, including women, could be seen queueing up before treasuries to withdraw monthly pension since early morning.
A elderly man, who queued up before a suburban treasury here, said he travelled over 10 kms to reach the treasury to collect his monthly pension but was told that there was no money.
Another pensioner said she was queueing up since 5 am before the treasury.
Protesting the fund crunch in treasuries and difficulties faced by people, around 50 government employees, under the aegis of NGO association, took out a march to the district treasury here.
Meanwhile, state Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said in New Delhi that the government was considering a plan to shift the accounts of state PSUs, including that of Kerala State Beverages Corporation, to district cooperative banks, with an aim to resolve the crisis faced by the cooperative sector in view of the Centre's demonetisation move.
"Many public sector undertakings including Beverages are getting fresh currencies. In my opinion, it is better to deposit the amount in cooperative banks. A final decision in this regard will be taken after discussing it with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan," he told reporters.
About Rs 3,000 crore is needed every month to disburse salaries to government servants and pensioners in Kerala.
The strength of salaried employees and pensioners in the state is over five lakh each.
(Reopens MDS3) Meanwhile, Isaac in a Facebook post later said currency crunch was continuing in treasuries and there were 18 treasuries in the state which did not receive any money today. "Various treasuries asked money to the tune of Rs 139.34 crore from RBI today but they received only Rs 87.02 crore till noon," he said. Stating that people were suffering innumerable hardships due to currency crunch, he said even those who had taken token yesterday had to queue up for many hours before treasuries to get their monthly pension and salary. Taking a dig at RBI, the minister said the apex bank had tried to create a 'feel good' impact by distributing almost nearer amounts what treasuries demanded in places like Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi, where media attention was high, but it was not the case in many other districts. Isaac also criticised BJP leaders' statements that he was triggering panic among people and had committed 'dereliction of duty' as the finance minister. "The present crisis is going to get intensified many fold in the coming days.
Because, the central government has no adequate currency in their possession," he said in another post. Meanwhile, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan said the "present crisis in the treasuries and cooperative sector in the state is a self-invited one". "The demonetisation was a revolutionary move. In near future, it will turn beneficial for the poor. But, at this juncture, the state government and opposition tried to create panic among the public by declaring war against the Centre and RBI," he said. Though RBI allotted money to resolve financial crunch, treasuries, especially those in Malabar region, ran out of cash and an inquiry should be conducted on this, he said, adding that he suspected a "purposeful move in the state to trigger public hatred against the union government.