Cash crunch forces temple to pay wages in coins

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Not just banks all over the world, god’s banks too, had to resort to innovative solutions in the pandemic.

By: Aakriti Sehra| October 21, 2020

Ludhiana: A total of 11 people, including five gardeners and six pundits were paid their salaries and wages in coins at Geeta Mandir, Vikas Nagar. The total of their salaries and wages came to Rs. 55,000.

Mr. Pradeep Dhall, General Secretary , Geeta Mandir temple authority

Mr. Pradeep Dhall, the general secretary of the temple authority (Geeta Mandir) said “There was a total of Rs. 1, 38,000 in coins collected through funds. Since not even banks accept coins in such a big number, we were clueless about what to do with them earlier. The loss due to lockdown gave us an interesting solution.”

One of the biggest temples in the city, Geeta Mandir saw a loss in funds just like other religious places in the country. Since due to lockdown, nobody was visiting the places of worship, there were fewer funds to pay salaries.

Chhote Lal, a gardener in the temple, who was paid in coins said that he took his salary home in a sack for the first time in his life, bringing amusement in his circles. “I had to buy my groceries, vegetables and pay the electricity bills in coins. I even paid the school fees for my daughter in coins.”  

Other workers were paid in coins too. Payments to several other people for running errands and maintaining curtains were also done in coins.

Dharmendra Singh, a supervisor at the temple said “It took us two to three days to calculate the number of coins we had. We had never paid attention to the coins and never did we try counting them. Each person that we handed the sack of coins to, gave us a look that we can’t forget. There are still sacks left, and they somehow are a threat to certain people as it becomes a task to count 20,000 or 30,000 coins.” 

Seema Dua, head of the economics department in Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women said “The pandemic and the lockdown have led the nation to the worst economic situation. Everyone has seen a downfall in their incomes. People are yet being paid just 30-50 percent of their salaries. The cash crunch is national; therefore using coins for payments was extremely wise and interesting.”

The temple has about Rs. 30,000 still available in coins.Since the unlock process started, people are visiting the temple again. Currently, the temple has managed to collect about 30 percent of its pre-Covid-19 funds.

The temple authorities are still trying to figure out ways of using these leftover coins. Dhall added, “Although situations are starting to improve, we will still try to use coins to make as many payments as possible.”

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