OUR STAFF CORRESPONDENT
DIBRUGARH: As the tea industry has played a very significant role in the economic development of the State, the State Government always take steps on priority basis for the development of the tea industry. "The State Government is fully prepared to accept the challenges put by the recent outbreak of novel corona virus to the tea industry," said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal while discussing various problems of tea estates of the State with Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) president and former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar at the Chief Minister's residence at Lakhinagar here on Friday.
Sonowal told Ghatowar that his government had been laying emphasis on awareness on COVID-19 among tea labourers and added that he personally had interaction with the sardars of tea estates to this effect. He also informed that all Deputy Commissioners of respective districts were asked to take all possible measures so that no labourer of the 14 tea estates of Assam Tea Company India Limited, along with all small tea estates, faced any problem during the lockdown period
Keeping in view economic losses as incurred by the tea estates during lockdown period, Sonowal said that he had directed the Assam Gas Company Limited (AGCL) to give relief to 409 tea estates of the State by waiving Minimum Demand Rate which as per agreement AGCL would get from tea estates.
ACMS president Ghatowar, while expressing his satisfaction over the State Government's efforts to make the tea industry vibrant and a viable industry during the lockdown period, also brought to the Chief Minister's notice the problems faced by 40,000 labourers of ATCIL. He also called upon Chief Minister Sonowal to continue the existing system of supplying ration to tea labourers directly from FCI depot during the month of March and April instead of the earlier system and also urged him to take further steps for continuing the system in future also. He said, the system would also help tea labourers and other workers during close down of road transport system in tea estates in the rainy season.
Ghatowar, who was accompanied with ACMS general secretary Ropesh Gowala and vice-president Nabin Keot, handed over a cheque of Rs 1.25 lakh to Sonowal as financial assistance for the Assam Arogya Nidhi.