GUWAHATI, July 10: Close on the heels of the tea industry telling Dispur that it is not immediately possible to pay the interim hike of daily wages to tea workers, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday took stock of the implementation of daily wage hike and instructed the authorities concerned to bring in parity of the wages in Barak and Brahmaputra Valley.
The State government has enhanced their daily wages by an interim amount of Rs 30 per day. The hike will have to be implemented with retrospective effect from March 1 this year. Once the interim hike comes into effect the composite minimum wages of tea workers will stand at around Rs 351 per day. The composite wages includes the cash and kind components, including facilities of housing, ration, fuel, etc., provided to the workers.
At present tea workers in the Brahmaputra valley are paid Rs 137 as daily monetary wage while their counterparts in Barak valley are being Rs 115 by the gardens management.
Chairing a meeting at the conference room of his office in Janata Bhawan in Dispur on Tuesday Sonowal reviewed the schemes for the welfare of tea tribe communities in the State and said his government is committed to ensure justified and deserving wages to all tea workers across the State. The schemes like Prime Minister Surakshya Bima Yojana and Prime Minister Jiban Jyoti Bima Yojana, under which the tea labourers having bank accounts would be availing of life insurance benefits were discussed by the chief minister. He said he annual premium of Rs 342 per scheme per beneficiary would be paid by the state government.
During the review meeting Sonowal asked Power Minister Topon Kumar Gogoi to ensure electrification of all households in tea garden areas on priority basis under Saubhagya scheme of Government of India. He asked the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited to install individual meters in the households of tea garden areas.
Sonowal also asked Tea Tribe Welfare Minister Pallab Lochan Das to develop a fool-proof method to see that no names are left out while transferring benefits under Chah Bagicha dhan Puraskar Mela. He also asked the MLAs belonging to tea tribe dominated areas to see that all rightful beneficiaries get financial benefits under the scheme.