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Scrap ACMS-CCPA pact demand rends Dispur air

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 9: Members of as many as three tea tribe organizations were at full-throttle in sloganeering at Dispur Last Gate today, demanding hike in the wage of tea labourers.

Though all the three organizations were shouting for the welfare of tea tribes, there are certain differences in their demands, be it the rate of wage or other benefits.

The All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) today demonstrated at Dispur Last Gate demanding immediate repeal of the recently signed agreement between the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) and the Consultative Committee of Plantation Association (CCPA) on tea labourers’ wage. The ACMS and the CCPA fixed tea labourers’ wage at Rs 137 a day.

Talking to newsmen at Dispur Last Gate, AASAA president Raphael Kujur said: “The tea labourers’ wage fixed by the ACMS and the CCPA is Rs 137, which is much less than the State Government’s minimum wage of Rs 169. We have, all along, been demanding hike in minimum wage in the state. However, the ACMS and the CCPA fixed it at much less than the minimum wage of the state, let alone fixing it higher than the minimum wage. We, under no circumstances, can accept the wage fixed the by ACMS and the CCPA. We want the wage of tea labourers in the state should be hiked to Rs 330 a day. And this demand is in accordance with the Minimum Wage Act, 1948.”

“If the labourers work better the production in tea gardens will go up, making profits for the tea estate owners. Why don’t the tea estate magement labourers’ welfare? In other states in the tion, the daily wage of tea labourers is Rs 245. Wage is not all. We want tea garden magements provide medical facilities, provident fund, gratuity, bonus etc., to garden workers in accordance with the Plantation Labourers Act, 1951,) Kujur said, and added: “If the State Government doesn’t meet all these demands we will continue our agitation. We have started our demonstration today, and it will continue till March 13.”

He said that the State Government also formed a wage committee to fix the daily wage of tea estate workers, but the ACMS and the CCPA has fixed the wage in a clandestine meeting between them.

Members of the Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (ATTSA) also staged dhar at Dispur Last Gate and shouted slogans.

Talking to newsmen at Dispur Last Gate today, ATTSA president Prahlad Goala said: “The ACMS-CCPA agreement on tea labourers’ wage should be repealed and the wage should be hiked to Rs 300. This apart, all tea garden workers should be covered under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme. There should be 15 per cent reservation for tea tribes in all government jobs, besides reservation in admission into medical, engineering, agriculture, veteriry, fishery etc., colleges under the state government. The Assam Tea Tribe Welfare Department should also be made a full-fledged one and every year Rs 100 crore should be allocated for the development of Tea Tribes of the state.”

The Akhil Bharatiya Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ABCMS) also staged dhar at Dispur Last Gate. Its general secretary Dinesh yak said that the tea tribes’ wage pact ended on December 31, 2014 and as such the labourers should have got hiked wages from January 1 this year. “However, of late, the ACMS and the CCPA signed a pact fixing the wage of tea labourers by hiking Rs 43 in three years gradually. According to the pact, the wage of tea labourers will be hiked by Rs 21 in 2015, Rs 11 in 2016 and Rs 11 in 2017. We can’t accept this pact. We want the wage be fixed at Rs 333 in accordance with the directive of the Supreme Court of India.”

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